Migratory Birds

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Egret_image_Larry BrennanNesting birds such as herons, egrets and other nesting waterbirds - bring challenges such as noise, odor and significant amounts of excrement that covers streets, sidewalks, cars and mailboxes on public and private property. People may find the birds' chosen nesting areas offensive and a nuisance when birds locate near homes and businesses. Concerns of possible health hazards, as well as noise and odors are some of the most cited complaints.

However, these birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, a U.S. federal law that protects more than 800 species of birds during their migration between the United States and Canada. As a result, the City of Lewisville is unable to address any complaints while the birds are nesting.

Residents can address the situation proactively by following these guidelines.

  • Familiarize yourself with "sentry" birds. They are the first to arrive looking for good nesting places. Report sightings to your neighbors and to the City of Lewisville
  • Familiarize yourself with the variety of birds found in Texas. Each species has a different breeding period. Be on the lookout for these birds beginning at these times:
    • February - Yellow -Crowned Night Heron
    • March - Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret

  • Nesting Season is typically March - October. Pre and post nesting season is typically November - February.
    • Do not kill, harass, relocate, move or attempt to scare away the birds by any means during nesting season.
  • Remove any old, abandoned nests.
  • Trim your trees. Remove deadwood, and thin tree canopy to allow sunlight between limbs and other trees.
  • Use a combination of scaring devices before migratory birds lay eggs.
  • As soon as you see birds on or near your property, begin using scare tactics.
  • Use noisemakers, water spray or shine lights at night.
  • Hang "scare eye" balloons or other moving objects in trees.
  • Use long poles, tennis balls or water hoses to disturb early nesting material.
  • Do not harm birds or eggs. These birds are protected by international treaty.
  • Once birds begin sitting on nests, eggs are probably present. You cannot kill, harass, move or disturb the birds when they are actively nesting.

Egret sunset Owen Richards

Resources:

Texas Parks and Wildlife PowerPoint Presentation

Texas Parks and Wildlife Handout on Migratory Birds

For more information about egrets, herons and other migratory birds, please contact Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at 972.293.3481