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Environmental Health

Migratory Birds

​​Migratory Bird Awareness:  Help prevent your property from becoming a nesting site​​

Migratory birds, such as herons, egrets and other waterbirds, are often seen in Texas during their annual migration between the U.S. and Canada. These birds can bring a number of challenges during nesting/breeding season such as noise, odor, and health hazards including significant amounts of excrement. Residents may find it offensive when the birds' chosen nesting areas are near their homes and businesses.

Once eggs are laid, these birds are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, preventing interference of any kind by residents or the City of Coppell. However, there are some actions residents can take before and after breeding season to deter the birds from nesting in the area.

 What can you do before nesting season begins? (Typically January – March)​

  • Be on the look out for "sentry" birds — the first birds to arrive looking for ideal nesting sites for the flock. Report sightings to your neighbors and to the City of Coppell by contacting Luay Rahil, Environmental Health Officer, at lrahil@coppelltx.gov or 972-462-5164. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the different migratory birds found in Texas. Each species has a different breeding period. See pictures below of birds common to this area with basic descriptions along with breeding months.
  • Use a combination of scare tactics BEFORE eggs are laid such as hanging helium balloons or other moving objects in trees, disturbing early nesting material with long poles, tennis balls or water spray and using noisemakers to deter the birds.
  • Please take care while using scare tactics. DO NOT kill or injure the birds.

What can you do during nesting season? (Typically March – October)

  • Once birds begin sitting on nests, eggs are probably present. Do not kill, harass, relocate, move or attempt to scare away the birds by any means during nesting season. These birds are federally protected.


What can you do if a rookery (group nesting site) is established?

  • Continue normal maintenance of your property including mowing and watering without intentionally disturbing the birds or their nests.
  • Regularly power wash or spray down your sidewalks, patios and other affected areas to clear away bird waste.
  • Do not attempt to handle birds. If you see a dead bird, please contact Coppell Animal Services at 972-304-3515 and they will pick it up.

What can you do after nesting season has ended? (Typically October – January)

  • Remove old nests from trees.
  • Give trees a good trim and thin the tree canopy to allow sunlight between limbs and other trees.
  • Help out elderly neighbors or those with special needs with nest clean up and tree trimming.
  • Be aware and report these bird sightings in late winter/early spring to the City of Coppell. They may not seem like a problem at the time, but they can settle in anywhere and become a nuisance quickly!​

​Contact Information

For questions, bird sightings in trees, and general information regarding migratory birds, contact:
  • Luay Rahil, Environmental Health Officer at lrahil@coppelltx.gov or 972-462-5164, or
  • Charlene Lovato, Animal Serv​ices Manager at CLovato@coppelltx.gov or 972-462-5313

To report dead or injured birds, contact:

  • Coppell Animal Services at 972-304-3515

For additional information, contact:

  • ​Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Urban Wildlife Biologist at 972-293-3841, or
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Division of Migratory Bird Management at 703-358-1714


Common Area Migratory Birds 


​Bird

​Description

​Length

​Wingspan

​Behavior/Characteristics

​Breeding Period

Cattle Egret​
  • ​Medium-sized white, compact bird with golden plumes on the head, chest and back during breeding season
  • Dagger-like yellow bill and yellow legs
  • Younger birds have dark bills and legs​

Approximately 18-22 inches​

Approximately 34-38 inches​

  • ​Nest in dense colonies with other species of herons
  • Often seen on land looking for food near cattle​

​April - October​

​Great Blue Heron
  • ​Very large, tall, greyish-blue bird with a long "S"-shaped neck and black crown with head plumes; shaggy plumes on neck and back during breeding
  • Long, dagger-like orange-yellow bill and legs
  • Younger birds have grey legs and bills​

​Approximately 38-54 inches

​Approximately 66-79 inches

  • ​Nest with other Great Blue Herons and sometimes alongside other species of wading birds

​Late January – Late August

​Great Egret
  • ​Large, tall, white bird with a long "S"-shaped neck; long, feathery plumes on back and neon green stripe over eyes during breeding
  • Long, dagger-like yellow-orange bill and long black legs​

​Approximately 37-41 inches

​Approximately 52-57 inches

  • ​Nest in mixed species colonies

​Early March - August

Little Blue Heron
  • ​Smaller, dark to slate blue bird with a dark maroon head and neck
  • Pale blue bill with black tip and long greenish legs
  • Younger birds are all white or white with some blue​

​Approximately 22-29 inches

​Approximately 39-41 inches

  • ​Nest in mixed species colonies
  • Hunched posture when standing​

​Early March – Late July

​Snowy Egret
  • ​Medium, white bird with a long "S"-shaped neck and shaggy plumes on neck and chest
  • Long black bill with yellow base and long black legs with yellow feet
  • Younger birds have dull, greenish legs​

​Approximately 22-26 inches

​Approximately 39 inches

  • ​Often nest with other small herons

​Early March – Late August

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
  • ​Medium-sized grey, stocky bird with yellow crown, head plumes and white patches on cheeks
  • Short grey bill and yellow-orange legs
  • Younger birds are brown with white spots

​Approximately 21-28 inches

​Approximately 40-46 inches

  • Often sentry birds that can be seen in the area as early as February

​Early March – Mid-July​


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