Migratory Birds (Egrets / Herons)

Update as of March 29, 2018:  
This week, Allen Parks and Recreation staff activated the "birds of prey" sound system in Stacy Ridge Park after city employees observed night herons in the area. Night herons act as scout birds for the larger and extremely destructive cattle egrets, which bring challenges such as noise, odor and other environmental impacts.

Migratory birds such as egrets are federally-protected once a single egg is laid, which is why Allen Parks and Recreation staff use various methods to scare them away, as recommended by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. No percussive devices ("bangers") are being used yet, but staff will activate them quickly if more birds are spotted.

Typically, the threat of egret nesting remains high through mid-May. Extra surveillance and additional efforts will remain in effect through that time, or until Parks staff is confident the threat of nesting has passed.

You can read more about how to identify these birds further down on this page or contact us for more information or if you have questions. 

We will update this page with more relevant information about ongoing efforts should they be needed.
  1. Protection
  2. What Can You Do?
  3. About Migratory Birds

Protecting Public Parks and Greenbelts

The devastation caused by large nesting sites such as the ones we have experienced in Allen can be tremendous. In 2013-2014, hundreds of homeowners and families were affected, two of our most beautiful parks sustained substantial environmental damage, and thousands of dollars in clean-up costs were incurred. You can learn more about the previous nesting sites by reading the brief history of Cattle Egrets in Allen.

It is important to remember that once a single egg is found in a single nest, these sites become protected under federal law and everyone, City staff and residents, is prohibited from interfering or harassing the birds. The best way to avoid the residential and environmental impact that can occur is to prevent the birds from establishing their nests at all. 

Predicting where migratory birds will ultimately choose to nest is nearly impossible. However, since these birds typically attempt to return to the same site as the previous year, that is where Parks and Recreation staff will focus their surveillance and preventative efforts first. In addition, staff has completed a review of the entire park system in Allen and identified other areas of possible concern. Those areas will also be closely monitored with available staff.