Podcast San Antonio

PODCAST: San Antonio’s ‘War on Birds’ Keeps Expanding

From misleading information, to chemical sprays at Brackenridge Park, to the horrific mass eviction of ‘Bird Island’ at Elmendorf Lake, the City of San Antonio’s war on the birds continues spread across the city.

Greg Harman

Two years ago, the City of San Antonio launched a war on the birds of Elmendorf Lake. The target was the hundreds of cattle egrets who have been roosting at this Westside ecological gem for decades. By razing the island to the ground, and dismantling possibly hundreds of nests, the assault destroyed the nesting ground for many related migratory birds. Many young were killed.

Yellow Crowned Night Heron. Image: Alesia Garlock

The action was justified as protective of military flights at Kelly Air Field on the Southwest side. In spite of a lot of spin and misinformation on this point, the actual data points to roughly a single bird strike per year at Kelly as linked to cattle egrets, while literally thousands of strikes per year at all city airfields are logged to other species. We’re written pretty extensively on the subject, recommending particularly Marisol’s “In Praise of Nuisance Heronries” (Part One and Two).

The harassment with pyrotechnics and lasers has followed the birds across the City parks system and even along the San Antonio River in artsy Southtown.

Yesterday, Deceleration caught up with local bird photographer, friend, and defender Alesia Garlock about the newest warning signs: “Bird Mitigation Plan” signage by the park’s dog run, promising dawn-and-dusk bird harassment at Woodlawn Lake. We beside the pond as dozens of Yellow-Crown Night Herons nuzzled and roosted above us. At least one mother-to-be was obviously splayed over her eggs.

Hadn’t planned (well) on shooting video at Woodlawn Lake this weekend, but here’s a bit of Night-Crown nestbuilding that should be enough to ward off state violence (but apparently isn’t).


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