What began as a cool wildlife spectacle of egrets and herons
nesting in the campus' Shields Oak Grove has become pretty
"Uh yeah…I mean you don't want to be near there when all the
birds are there."
Ellen Zagory is director of horticulture for the UC Davis
Arboretum. She says the bird droppings are not only gross. They
contain ammonia which is toxic to the trees and causes the leaves
to drop off.
"And then leaves that don't fall off right away get completely
covered in white and then they can't photosynthesis and it inhibits
the trees' ability to grow."
So the campus is installing laser lights and will sound off
harmless distress calls to keep the birds away this
"And it's to startle the birds so that they are not as
comfortable there and they'll find a more suitable place for them
Zagory says the number of nests has skyrocketed in the past few
years. In 2006 there were about 630 nests. Now there are more than