MEDIA RELEASE: Thousands Join San Antonio Residents in Call to Stop Harassing Migratory Birds

MEDIA RELEASE: Thousands Join San Antonio Residents in Call to Stop Harassing Migratory Birds

SAN ANTONIO (July 10, 2024) — Thousands of people have joined In Defense of Animals and San Antonio residents in urging officials to stop harassing and harming migratory birds in Woodlawn Lake Park, Elmendorf Lake Park and elsewhere in the city. 

City employees and San Antonio Parks and Recreation have misrepresented information to justify their assault on birds, claiming they are a health hazard. However, contractors are causing more damage and disruption in city parks by harassing birds, which threaten not only birds but the public.

Woodlawn Lake Park currently has migratory birds nesting on eggs and with babies who are experiencing explosives shot nearby by contractors who also appear to be trying to scare them away from the water by banging boards  as they try to feed, drink and cool down from extreme temperatures.

Witnesses have reported one snowy egret nest with three snowy egret babies who had fallen out of their nest after a contractor was observed shooting explosives towards trees nearby. The babies did not survive. At least two little blue heron nests with eggs have been lost since the start of the noise harassment. More will follow if these individuals, who have been observed acting in a reckless and unsafe manner by shooting explosives around people and families with children, continue harassing birds in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Snowy egrets are one of several species currently nesting at Woodlawn Lake Park. They are listed as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Texas. Little blue herons are listed as a Species of High Concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for declining populations.

The city has stated it is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA)Wildlife Services, but the contractors banging boards and shooting explosives in the park are from a subcontractor.

On July 3, contractors were observed shooting explosives in Elmendorf Park. An email request for information sent to the city of San Antonio’s Fire Department Public Information office received a response that stated that the contractor “is within the guidelines.” 

Elmendorf Lake Park Bird Island has had birds nesting for over 40 years, until 2019 when a campaign of misinformation blaming the birds for air strikes brought in the USDA and a rookery that had been used for decades was destroyed. Efforts are currently underway to chase away cormorants who nested there last year. 

The situation remains extremely concerning as chicks are starting to fledge, but are still reliant on their parents as they learn to fly. These young ones will soon gather near the water's edge to eat, drink and prepare for departure and must not be harassed during this time. 

More than 9,100 people have signed In Defense of Animals’ alert calling on city officials and the parks department to immediately stop harassing birds. While city councilors are on break this July, the mayor’s office and parks officials could intervene, but have not acted to protect these birds. 

A resident familiar with the issue was informed that the city manager stated “they will not stop,” even after residents have reported multiple injuries. 

“It’s heartbreaking that these birds have not been allowed to peacefully nest and raise their babies in San Antonio, and that more will be lost because of the unethical harassment the city is allowing,” said Lisa Levinson of In Defense of Animals. “It’s even more disheartening that city officials refuse to listen to public input or engage in a dialogue that could lead to peaceful coexistence, which residents clearly support. We’ll continue to push for resolution on this issue.” 

“The cruelty and inhumane treatment of migratory birds in San Antonio is a disgusting display of abusive behavior not only toward nature, but the very people who value our flora and fauna,” said resident Alesia Garlock. “To allow residents to suffer trauma and injury just to spite the birds should garner an investigation of the city staff responsible.” 

“We have been watching the city’s actions on the birds in our parks for a couple of years. But not until now do we realize that they’re not just trying to control the bird population, they are trying to eradicate all birds from our parks. Surely they realize that the board-banging and explosives are an attack on all wildlife in the area, as well as on the people, taxpayers, who go to the park to enjoy birds and the natural environment. This needs to stop. And we want it to stop now,” said resident Ida Ayala

Members of the public are encouraged to continue to speak up:



More than 13,700 people have previously also signed In Defense of Animals’ alert urging officials to stop harassing birds in San Antonio’s Brackenridge Park. 

Images and video:


Lisa Levinson, In Defense of Animals,, 215-620-2130

Alesia Garlock, resident,

National Goose Protection Coalition is an affiliate coalition of In Defense of Animals consisting of individuals, advocacy groups, and organizations who unite to stop lethal goose roundups and protect waterfowl in our communities and beyond. When you contact us to resolve a waterfowl issue in your community, we will connect you with one of our expert mentors for free advice and training.

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, campaigns, and hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, rural Mississippi, and central California.


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