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Herons Take Over Modesto Neighborhood, Leave Fish Carcasses Everywhere

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Modesto residents near Sylvan Elementary School say that for a few months every year, dozens of black herons occupy a tree and terrorize them.

“They come out at night time and they’re noisy as heck, and they’ll crap anywhere,” nearby resident Beverly Jones said.

The tree is located on private property near the Delta Avenue and Rumble Road intersection.

“They’ve chased my son. I’ve been walking him to school and they’ve chased him, so now he won’t walk passed here,” neighbor Danielle Cole said.

Some neighbors say the feathery tenants need to be evicted- they feast on fish from nearby waters and blanket those remains and their own on the ground.

“There was two of them in my backyard last week. My yard man was scared. That bird opened its mouth like this, baby, [makes a beak with her hands] like he could swallow him,” said Jones.

As tempting as it may be to evict the birds, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says leave them alone.

“The black heron are a federally protected species, so under no circumstances can they be moved, disturbed, touched, anything else,” said spokesperson Andrew Hughan.

The city says one resident has called to complain about the mess. Once the birds leave for the season, the city says they’ll prune the trees and get rid of the nests.

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