The number of herons and egrets populating the arboretum in recent years has become unmanageable; between 2005 and 2007, the number of egrets in the arboretum has increased more than fivefold. Since this problem first presented itself in 2006, the birds‘ prodigious “guano“ has become more than just an unpleasant smell. Their droppings have damaged and eroded trees, and large areas of guano may even contain diseases such as salmonella.
The bird population is taking up residence in Shields Oak Grove, one of the prides of the arboretum. It is important to consider that these birds are both non-native and can survive outside of the arboretum. One student, Mana Hattori, notes that both herons and egrets “can pretty much nest anywhere that they can find trees.“
The curator of the arboretum, Andy Engilis, has decided to investigate the best ways to peacefully remove the non-endangered birds from their current habitat. The method currently being investigated is the use of laser technology.
These deterrents, which are being tested only on birds that are not nesting, have been positive. The lasers are commercially approved and appear to be humane.
The eviction of wildlife from the arboretum is always an unfortunate situation. However, it is an understandable course of action given the current circumstances.
Because the birds have alternative places to live, it is preposterous to let prized oak trees die at the talons of species that can easily migrate.XXX