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The city began working on its relocation plan after the military complained the birds jeopardized the flight paths of Lackland Air Force Base and Port of San Antonio, the redeveloped Kelly Air Force Base. Around 100 bird strikes of aircraft were reported in 2018, according to the city.
However, under federal law, it's illegal to relocate breeding birds. That means any effort to relocate the egrets from their spot near Our Lady of the Lake University must wait until the nestlings have hatched and matured.
In a press statement, Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales said the delay presents a chance for the city to gather community input and study alternatives. Environmental groups have raised concerns that a relocation could harm the flock.
"While this is still a serious and urgent issue, we now have several months to make sure that the plan to address the overpopulation thoroughly examines residents' ideas, while keeping the health and safety of our military flight crews and community members as the priority," Gonzales said. "My hope is that we find the best and most humane solution that also allows us to preserve the Westside's way of life.
The city plans to gather citizen input via its SASpeakUp portal.
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