Cattle Egrets cause a ruckus


Michelle Stoddart

An area of Stacy Ridge Park has been designated as a nesting area for the cattle egrets.

Tory Heruska, Staff Reporter

First it was Celebration Park nearly a year ago. Now it’s Stacy Ridge Park where hundreds of nestling Cattle Egrets, a protected species at the state and federal level, have taken up temporary residence.

“They are everywhere,” local resident Jenna Jenkins said. “I live in Stacy Ridge, and I did a double take the first time I saw them.”

The birds can indeed be noisy and can make quite a mess but as described by both the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Chapter 64 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, “Any disturbance of the rookery is strictly prohibited.”

There can be no deterrent or disruptive measures taken at Stacy Ridge Park by anyone from this point forward.

“I remember them being at Celebration, and now they’re back,” class of 2014 graduate Brad Jacobs said. “It’s insanely frustrating that we can’t do anything to get them to leave.”

Park staff will post informational signs in the area alerting the community to the active nesting site and its protected status. But while most local residents understand the process, there’s no denying there are some drawbacks.

“They stink up our runs,” cross country coach Greg Christen said. “I mean of course I think they should be protected yes, but man do they smell.”

Details about Cattle Egrets

  • Length 18″ – 22″
  • Wingspan 35″ – 38″
  • Yellow to orange bill
  • Short, thick neck
  • Hunched posture
  • Yellowish legs
  • Color may change during different times of the year
  • Breed late February – October

What can people do about Egrets?

  • Report sightings of Cattle Egrets and Night Herons or other major migratory bird activity to 214.509.3150.
  • Ensure trees are trimmed to allow sunlight to shine through; it may also be helpful to create a separation between tree canopies.
  • If there have been birds nesting before, remove ALL old nesting material that does not contain eggs.
  • Be a good neighbor and help those who may have special needs and/or team up with your neighbors when hiring a tree trimming service and ask for discount rates for group service.