PORTSMOUTH -- You could hear some loud bangs Monday in the Port Norfolk area.

Some homeowners are trying to scare off the Great Egret birds in the Lynne Shores neighborhood. They're using pistols and flare guns to startle the birds with noise. The goal is to move the birds out before they nest and leave behind a mess.

'They're unsanitary and at nighttime it sounds like it's raining,' resident Jeff Davidson said.

While one bird is beautiful, too many of them can be a nuisance. Back in 1996, they had hundreds of egrets above their homes. Bo Brimmer remembers all the white droppings that covered his house, and the horrendous smell. 'It's terrible for our health.'

'One neighbor had to pack up and move to Florida for a while, because the stench was so bad she couldn't take it,' Gene Beacham remarked.

Families will have to put up with the birds until they migrate down to the Gulf and Caribbean this August. The Great Egret is protected under federal law. You can't kill them or take their eggs, but you can try to scare them off.

Portsmouth officials requested a state permit to allow homeowners to use noise to harass the birds. The permit expires May 15, 2014.

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