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Midwest City officials prepare strategy to discourage bird invasion

Officials hope to keep egrets from establishing a rookery near homes.
by Matt Patterson Published: January 21, 2013

Time is important. Because of their federal protection status, once their rookery is established the birds cannot be disturbed.

“We have a very limited time to keep them from establishing their rookery because of their federal protection,” Midwest City animal welfare manager Charles Abney said. “We're usually out there 12 hours most days during that time.”

Abney said in years past the city has seen rookeries with as many as 25,000 birds. He expects if left unchecked more birds will nest there this spring than last. He said one of the worst aspects of their presence is the smell.

“You get that many birds flying in and out and it gets pretty noisy,” he said. “And the smell is so bad. It's nasty. The weak get kicked out of their nest and walk around until they die. That's their nature, and that adds to the smell problem.”

Abney said city workers may need to work seven days a week and up to 18 hours a day to keep the birds from establishing the rookery.

“It's a lot of long hours because you have to stay out there all day and make sure they don't get settled in,” he said. “You have to keep up the pressure on them.”

by Matt Patterson
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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