Migratory Birds

Texas is a major route for migratory birds shuttling between the United States and Canada, and this springtime event can impact residential, commercial and industrial properties.

Nesting birds – herons, egrets and other nesting water birds – bring challenges such as noise, odor and significant amounts of excrement that covers streets, sidewalks, cars and mailboxes on public and private property. People may find the birds' chosen nesting areas offensive and a nuisance when birds locate near homes and businesses. Concerns of possible health hazards, as well as noise and odors are some of the most cited complaints.

However, these birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, a U.S. federal law that protects more than 800 species of birds during their migration between the United States and Canada. As a result, the City of Irving is unable to address any complaints while the birds are nesting. Residents can address the situation proactively by following these guidelines:

January to March


  • Learn how your neighborhood plans to distribute news of bird sightings. For help contacting or locating your neighborhood association, visit the Neighborhood Associations page.
  • Familiarize yourself with “sentry” birds. They are the first to arrive, looking for good nesting places. Report sightings to your neighbors.
  • Familiarize yourself with the variety of birds found in Texas.  
  • Each species has a different breeding period. Be on the lookout for these birds beginning at these times:
  • Scare Eye BalloonAs soon as you see birds on or near your property, begin using scare tactics.
    • Use noisemakers, water spray or shine lights at night.
    • Hang “scare eye” balloons or other moving objects in trees.
    • Use long poles, tennis balls or water hoses to disturb early nesting material.
    • Do not harm birds or eggs. These birds are protected by international treaty. 
  • Once birds begin sitting on nests, eggs are probably present. You cannot kill, harass, move or disturb the birds when they are actively nesting.

Nesting Season (March – October)


  • Do not kill, harass, relocate, move or attempt to scare away the birds by any means during nesting season.

Pre- and Post-Nesting Season (November - February)


  • Remove any old, abandoned nests.
  • Trim your trees. Remove deadwood, and thin tree canopy to allow sunlight between limbs and other trees.
  • Destroy new nests before egg laying.
  • Use a combination of scaring devices before migratory birds lay eggs.