Migratory Birds (Egrets / Herons)

Update (February 27, 2019): In order to prevent cattle egrets from nesting in the City of Allen, predatory bird noise-making devices will be used beginning the week of March 4 at Celebration Park and Stacy Ridge Park.

The noise-making devices are used annually at the parks until the middle of May while the threat of cattle egrets nesting is high.

If cattle egrets are sighted in Allen, the prevention efforts will then switch to the use of “percussive” devices that produce a loud bang. These devices sound similar to fireworks or gunfire and residents should not be alarmed. This measure must begin immediately upon a cattle egret sighting and may not provide an opportunity for advance notification to the surrounding neighborhoods, though communication efforts will be made to keep the public informed.

Also, the City of Allen’s forestry staff plans to thin the tree growth and understory vegetation in the woods at Stacy Ridge Park once dry conditions allow for machinery on the forested area. The purpose of this maintenance is to 1) reduce the likelihood of Cattle Egrets establishing rookeries and 2) create greater visibility and security in the wooded area for trail users, especially after dusk. During the maintenance, City of Allen equipment and personnel will be active in the park, which will remain open, but the public is asked to not enter into the work sites. 

For questions and more information, please call the Allen Parks and Recreation Department at 214.509.4700. To report possible signings of cattle egrets, night herons or other major migratory bird activity, please visit the online help desk.

  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.