Elizabeth Explains

Science Stories and More ——— From Elizabeth Deatrick

Fireworks: Bright, Beautiful, Bad for Beach Birds?

Fireworks off of Tybee Island, Georgia. Image credit: Steevven1 at en.wikipedia.com.

I recently wrote a 4th-of-July-themed piece for Audubon. Fireworks are fantastic for us, but not so great for shorebirds: the bright lights and noise can spook parents into flying off their nests. Without their parents, young shorebirds are vulnerable this time of year: they’re not strong enough to run away from nighttime predators, like foxes, raccoons, gulls, and even coyotes.

Even during the day, beach revelry can be bad for birds. The hot sand is like a stove for nesting shorebirds: eggs and young chicks need the constant shade of their parents’ wings to keep cool. Walking into a nesting beach bird area, or flying a kite or drone overhead, can scare the parents away… leaving their young to slowly cook to death under the hot sun.

Luckily, in this case, keeping birds safe is simple, and doesn’t mean we have to stop using the beach–or enjoying the fireworks! To find out more, go read the full article here!

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