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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

It's not quite as scary as a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's “The Birds,” but Midwest City officials are gearing up for an egret invasion this spring.

Several thousand egrets settled into a rookery near Reno and Post Road last spring, and they are expected to return when the weather begins to warm up. The birds were a nuisance to nearby homeowners who had to contend with the noise and smell of thousands of birds occupying a grove of trees near their homes.

Midwest City officials will ask the city council to approve $21,000 in overtime between March 18 and May 18 this year and another $1,625 for supplies to scare the birds away.

The egret is a migratory bird that is protected by federal law.

In order to get rid of them, animal control officers will use a bird cannon and screamers to scare them away. Bird cannons create a boom sound that scares them away. Screamers are similar to flare guns, but make a high pitch noise.

“This has become a quality-of-life issue for our residents who live near or on the same property as the rookeries,” city manager J. Guy Henson said. “We are striving to do all we can prior to the birds roosting in our neighborhoods so that our residents do not have to endure the inconvenience of having them so close.”

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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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