The Town That Went To The Birds

Residents of Holly Lane in Taylor, Texas
Residents of Holly Lane in Taylor, Texas try to keep the egrets away. (EN Teague piece)

In the wild, egrets, with their lanky bodies, and snow white feathers, are as graceful and elegant as anything in nature.

But on Holly Lane, in the once quiet town of Taylor, Texas, just the sight of an egret is a call to arms.

The weapons in the battle of Holly Lane are all acoustic - noise makers to discourage egrets from landing in the trees, reports CBS News correspondent Don Teague.

And if you're wondering why residents are so militant about keeping the birds away, it's because thousands found the town's tall trees a perfect place to nest last year.

"It was so gross I can't even explain what we went through last year, trying to keep this place cleaned up," said resident Sharon Bunge.

"I don't know how else to describe it to you," said Pat Rogers. "It was a war zone."

The egrets poop - a lot. It piled up four inches thick, making residents sick, forcing them to stay inside, and vowing to never let this happen again.

Egrets are federally protected animals - it's a crime to disturb Egrets once they've begun nesting, so last year, residents were helpless, but this year …

"We were able to find out by using different sounds we could actually discourage the birds from landing, and if we did that, that was cool," said Reginald Zepeda with Taylor Animal Control.

So beginning two months ago, the two dozen residents on this street declared war.

From sunrise until sunset they watch, wait, and wail at the sight of even a single egret.

As anyone who lives within about a mile of this street will tell you, the neighbors manage to make plenty of noise with stuff they find at Wal-Mart, but wildlife officials weren't sure they were making enough noise so they brought out some heavy artillery.

This is an acoustic canon, which delivers 160 of ear-shattering, bird-frightening thunder.

"Do you think this is the loudest street in America right now?" Teague asked.

"Oh yeah," said Rogers, laughing.

But it's also one of the closest streets, where folks who once barely knew each other are winning the battle against the bird together.