Modified noise making activities on Bird Island to begin today

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin low level noise-making activities at about 5:15 p.m. today in an effort to decrease the cattle egret population in Lake Elmendorf Park. The devices that will be used sound similar to fireworks. Beginning Thursday after finals are complete, much louder pyrotechnics will be used.

The original plan was to hold off on all noise-making activities until after finals. However, the USDA requested permission to begin the lower level noise activities this week to discourage the birds from roosting in trees near Bird Island now that tree trimming and clearing is complete on the island.

Efforts will take place today through Wednesday from about 5:15-6:30 p.m. The firework sounds will be intermittent and there should be no more than 10 in an hour. Beginning Thursday, the louder pyrotechnics will be used for about two hours before sunset. The noise-making activities could go on for several months depending on the activity of the birds.

The efforts to thin the egret population are a result of concerns regarding the threat of bird strikes in the heavily populated areas between Elmendorf Lake and Kelly Field.