HOUSTON - Neighbors in northwest Harris County say they're community is under siege by hundreds of birds, and they're worried it's a health hazard.
The white and cattle egrets have made themselves right at home in Middlegate Village Park.
Droppings, feathers and dead birds have forced the subdivision in Copperfield to close its playground indefinitely.
It's just a stone's throw away from the neighborhood swimming pool.
"They're in the pool. Numerous birds have been in the pool for weeks upon weeks. Kids are walking around barefoot in the pool," said neighbor Bradley Lapp.
The egrets are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Harming the birds or tampering with active nests is a federal crime.
According to neighbors, the homeowner's association has been brainstorming potential solutions to get rid of the birds and stop them from coming back.
Neighbors say the ideas presented so far include trimming the trees in the park, cutting down the trees or setting off pyrotechnics.
"Nesting season is over, and I think these are squatters. I don't think some of these birds are going to leave," said neighbor Patricia Armstrong.
Patricia Armstrong lives directly next to the park. She says the distinct smell is tough to tolerate and blows toward her home with every gust of wind.
"Most of the summer it's been a sewer stench," explained Armstrong. "It's a problem. It's a health hazard really."
Neighbors fed up with the smell and droppings littering their community are hoping their HOA can come up with a plan and quick.
"I don't know what's bringing them all out, but my get tells me we're building too many subdivisions, and there's not enough places for the birds," said neighbor Daryl Strangmeyer.
Wildlife experts say the birds will likely fly away when the weather cools down.