It’s time to celebrate the Fourth of July, and birds and fireworks are a dangerous mix, so please consider the impact the sights and sounds of large, vibrant explosions in the sky have on our avian friends.
Fireworks are not as delightful to wildlife as they are to us.
Fireworks startle birds from their roost.
They become disoriented in the darkness and collide with windows, buildings, cars, and trees in their environment.
Birds and Fireworks Are a Bad Mix
Fireworks disturb nesting terns and gulls along the coast, and they abandon their nests, exposing their eggs to predators.
Birds die from other causes when startled by loud noises and explosions.
Smoke from fireworks is toxic.
Fireworks contain a mixture of sulfur-coal compounds, traces of heavy metals, and other toxic chemicals or gases, such as ozone, sulfur dioxide, and nitric oxide.
These toxins become airborne after fireworks combustion and create dangerous levels of air and water pollution.
Smoke Toxins Impact Humans So Why Not Birds
Studies show toxins and air pollution created by fireworks consistently trigger spikes in human illness and deaths.
Onlookers on the ground below the massive clouds of poisonous gases suffer from respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.
Wild birds fly around in the same toxic gases for as long as 45 minutes until the air clears.
But toxic gases from fireworks are not the only threat from fireworks.
Pyrotechnic materials and other fragments left after the fireworks are detonated or burned end up litter the area.
Casings, fuses, and other materials are filled with toxins that can poison birds, wildlife, and children for a long time afterward.
Loud explosions from fireworks cause wildlife and pets to break leashes, jump fences, and even jump through glass windows in their panic.
Responsibly Enjoying Birds and Fireworks
Fireworks are part of the festivities for celebrating our nation’s independence.
In a letter to Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776, John Adams writes that “the occasion should be commemorated with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires.”
Here’s an idea if you want to enjoy your Independence Day Celebration with fireworks and protect birds.
Attend a commercial display, rather than setting off pyrotechnics in your backyard.
Commercial fireworks are in one location, rather than in several places at once.
This allows birds to take off and land again in a “safer” location rather than fleeing noises coming at them from all directions.
Professional displays take into account the natural environment and any impact they might have on wildlife in the immediate surroundings.
Please consider the rockets’ red, white, and blue glare on our avian friends.
Let’s all coexist!