Section of Celebration fenced off due to invasive birds


Egrets such as the one seen above made a temporary home in Celebration Park, forcing a temporary closure of the wooded area.

Tory Heruska, Staff Reporter

Thousands of migratory birds have forced the closure of part of one of Allen’s most popular parks. These invasive birds, called Cattle Egrets, have turned a forested area at Celebration Park into a fenced off nesting ground. The Allen Parks and Recreation Department had no choice but to close the area of the park where the jogging and cycling trails are located for the safety of the endangered birds.

“The Cattle Egret is a federally protected migratory bird and for this reason once roosting was underway, we had no choice but to work with the situation,” Allen Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Brian Bristow said.  “The area will be closed off until we have completed mitigating the damage to the area.  This could take one to several months.  Allen I personally checked on the site two weeks ago and observed only a few remaining adult birds.”

Families, bikers, and joggers alike are having to change their routes to avoid any areas where nesting egrets could be disturbed.

“It’s fenced off because of the egrets, some endangered bird,” cross country runner Brock Bittner said.  “It’s illegal to scare them off because it’s mating ground.”

Unfortunately by the time the egrets had firmly established their place for breeding, the Allen Parks and Recreation Department had to close the area off to pedestrians to minimize disturbance and protect the safety and health of the community.

“It is not uncommon for these grounds to be plastered with droppings to the point where the smell is unbearable to humans,” Allen Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Lori Smeby said. “The next breeding season will start in the spring so we plan to be ready for them and discourage the “scouts” when they arrive so as to hopefully avoid this situation again.”