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Should fireworks be banned to protect birds?


Last night, as I looked out my window to see huge fireworks exploding in the distance, I couldn’t help but wonder and worry about the birds.

If you have a pet of any kind, you know the kind of fear loud fireworks instill in animals and the irrational things they can make pets do. Birds are extremely susceptible to fright from loud noises and bright streaks of light. In fact, last New Year’s Eve, fireworks were reportedly responsible for the death of several thousand birds because the explosions caused them to fly at top speeds into trees and houses.

We use fireworks to celebrate America’s independence, but professional fireworks are a pompous display of hubris and aggression, according to Troy Patterson from Slate.

Animal rights groups have been urging people to stop using fireworks for the sake of the animals, but it doesn’t seem to be getting through to most places. However, in Depoe Bay, Ore., the fireworks show was canceled yesterday to prevent federally protected migratory seabirds from being frightened. Last year, the birds in the bay were frightened away, which led nine nests being lost to predators. Residents, as you would expert, were outraged at the cancellation of the fireworks:

Local residents like Pat Osuna are also fired up.

“I think it’s so ridiculous that one person can call and say something like that that the fireworks are doing bad to these birds,” she said. “It don’t last that long. It’s not gonna hurt those birds. I’m telling ya!”

Although limiting fireworks to designated locations away from roosting spots and federally protected birds and wildlife seems like a reasonable task, individuals who do not understand the ramifications of huge professional fireworks will not be amenable to the change.

Fireworks don’t necessarily have to be banned outright. They can simply be set off in approved locations that would significantly limit the amount of birds affected or killed by the fireworks.

Also, consider that this debate only arises on the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve before being forgotten the next day, it’s unlikely that any alterations will be made.

What do you think?

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

3 Comments

  1. I believe that they should be in designated areas, and in the case of birds that are endangered or of special concern, the use of fireworks should be banned near their breeding territory. I have always enjoyed live fireworks and it’s part of our national heritage. I would pray that common sense would prevail in any decision.

  2. I think Fireworks should only be permitted “far” from any animals, birds, etc. They could be done on a barge out in the ocean or gulf. Then all people who like them could still enjoy. BUT, it is very sad that so many animals are affected by the loud noise and if birds are being killed this is even worse. (Many dogs/cats shake for over an hour while the loud banging is going on; they are so frightened) Yes, do something about this situation PLEASE!

  3. It is so sad how the animals and birds are affected and killed (in the case if birds) I hope America wakes up to this and certain areas are designated as “safe” areas for fireworks. TV viewing would be enough for the public.on the Fourth.

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