Egrets breed this time of year. Many of them choose Parqué Juárez for nesting. They seem to like the tall trees there. Neighbors and park users wish they didn't. Egrets are smelly. They deposit thick coats of white droppings on streets, benches, and decorative plants.
Years of efforts to discourage the birds failed. Finally, the city went to the nuclear option: They lopped the tops off all the centuries-old trees in the park. Ugly, but effective. Today, a small grove alongside the cultural center is all that remains suitable for building nests.
Fewer trees means overcrowding. The remaining grove is an egret ghetto. Droppings are more concentrated. The elegant neighborhood near the Cultural Center reeks. Baby egrets falling prematurely out of their nests flop on grounds patrolled by neighborhood cats.
Parent egrets feed their chicks with fish they catch in the presa, the reservoir west of town. Not all of the fish make it into the youngsters' beaks. Some drop on the ground, adding to the noisome litter.
The other day a friend walked past the nesting site when a fish fell to the ground in front of her. She almost stepped on it. It's the last thing anyone would expect from our benign Mexican climate: fish falling from the sky.