Egret clean up could cost $50,000 at Fort Worth park

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by TODD UNGER

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WFAA

Posted on September 30, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 30 at 7:18 PM

Sylvania Park

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FORT WORTH — City park employees are working to repair and fix up a popular city park after nesting egrets caused thousands of dollars of damage.

Jerry McDowell, a park superintendent with the City of Fort Worth, estimates the total cost for cleaning Sylvania Park could reach $50,000.

"The birds are protected, so there was nothing we could really do," McDowell said.

The city first noticed the migratory birds move in to the northeast park in in January. When they started nesting in February, McDowell said no maintenance could be performed that could potentially disturb the protected birds.

Close to 30 workers will spend at least the next week mowing the lawn, removing debris and trees, and cleansing the park of piles and piles of bird feces dropped during the year.

"There were over 8,000 birds here," McDowell said.

Nearby neighbors, like Carolyn Cain, said they were stunned when the birds started nesting in their trees, too.

"There were some run over in the street, it was so thick," she said.

The messy migration of the egrets has long been an issue in North Texas. But Fort Worth officials said this was the first time they could remember flocks of the birds taking over an entire city park.

Next year, park officials say they are considering using pistols loaded with blanks and other measures to try and keep the birds away.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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