AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – An international team of researchers claims “millions of birds” are being adversely affected by fireworks sent skyward during New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The frightened fliers “take off as a result of an acute flight response” when they hear the sudden noise and see bright flashes of the explosions, according to scientists at the University of Amsterdam and elsewhere who were involved in the study. Their conclusions were published in the scientific journal “Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.”
They also observed that “larger birds in open areas in particular fly around for hours after” fireworks, “and at remarkable altitudes.” Smaller birds are less likely to fly away from the disturbance, researchers said.
Birds fleeing areas with fireworks were discovered to spend an average of 10-percent longer looking for food than normal during 11 or more days following a fireworks display. The team said it believes the birds need that time to replenish lost energy, or because they ended up in unknown foraging areas.
As a result, the authors said they propose creating “fireworks-free zones in areas where large birds live.” Their recommended measures “are especially important in open areas such as grasslands,” where many larger birds spend winters, they added. The effects of fireworks on birds are less pronounced near forests and semi-open habitats.
They also suggested it might be best for birds to substitute light shows without sound – such as drone shows or decorative fireworks without very loud noises – for currently used fireworks shows.
Photo by Travels With The Post