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Rookery Prevention

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The City of Arlington is working with neighborhoods to help encourage egret and heron rookeries to set up or relocate their nesting homes in natural, less inhabited areas of Arlington. Egrets and Herons are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, and it is against Federal and State law to do anything to these birds once an egg is in a nest!

The following procedures are recommended to prevent rookeries in Arlington neighborhoods:

Step 1:  In October, if a rookery is already established, remove the nests once the birds have left.

Step 2: (Most Important) Trees need to be trimmed!  It is recommended that trees be trimmed so sunlight can come between limbs and other trees. Birds should not be able to walk across limbs to reach other trees. A good arborist can help with this!

Step 3:  Have hazing (averse conditioning) supplies ready.  Scary eye balloons, streamers, air horns, and water nozzles. The goal to aversive conditioning is to make the habitat for the birds unwelcoming so they will nest at another location.

Step 4:  Put up signs in the neighborhood around the first of February to warn neighbors of the loud noises and so everyone can be on the watch for the birds.

Step 5:  The first of February begin watching for the sentry birds (Black Crowned Night Herons and Yellow Crowned Night Herons). Keep in mind these birds are most active at night so neighborhoods must be vigilant. Once the birds arrive start the hazing! It is important to do hazing in a manner that the birds never “get used” to it. It is also important to haze immediately because the birds will establish nests quickly.  Knock down nests BEFORE any eggs are laid.

Step 6:  Continue hazing and keep nests from being established and if all goes well your neighborhood will be quiet, clean and will smell good for the summer. The birds will establish in a new place where they can raise their chicks in peace, and everyone will be happy!

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