America loves commemorating our independence with large, vibrant explosions in the sky, but if birds can talk, they’d tell you birds and fireworks are a dangerous mix.
Fireworks are not as delightful to wildlife as they are to us.
The sights and sounds of explosions startle birds from their roosts, forcing them to fly off disoriented in the darkness and collide with buildings, trees, and cars.
And what about our precious fledglings trying to survive against a backdrop of fireworks lighting up the sky.
Birds and Fireworks Are a Bad Mix
Fireworks disturb nesting terns and gulls along the coast. 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 harmful 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. At the same time, 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 detonate litter the area. In addition, 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 Enjoy Birds and Fireworks
Fireworks are part of the festivities for celebrating our nation’s independence, and this year post-COVID-19, we have even more reasons to celebrate.
In a letter to his wife, 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.”
Let’s heed Adams’ words and commemorate this important day in American history. So here’s an idea to enjoy your Independence Day Celebration with fireworks while protecting birds and wildlife.
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. Birds can take off and land again in a “safer” area rather than fleeing noises coming at them from all directions.
Professional displays consider the natural environment and any impact they might have on wildlife in the immediate surroundings.
Please consider your bird friends when setting off the rockets’ red, white, and blue glare, and let’s all coexist.
Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July!