I have never understood the appeal of fireworks, even as a child I was more interested in the bonfire than the colourful explosions in the sky.
As a dog owner I’m now much more aware of the impact of fireworks on animals and whilst our dog can find some comfort hiding under the cushions, there is very little that some animals can do other than panic.
At this time of year birds are often roosting together and as the evenings get darker earlier it’s no surprise that birds are often settled in the for night by early evening.
Imagine how it must feel then to suddenly hear a series of explosions, probably from all directions and over the course of numerous hours.
A team of researchers in the Netherlands studied bird behaviour in response to fireworks and found that ‘a few minutes after midnight, when fireworks were being lit in inhabited areas all over the country, massive movements — one could say “explosive” movements — of wild birds were detected.’
The majority of birds don’t see very well in darkness which means that ‘panicked wild birds will crash into power lines, automobiles, buildings, trees, and even each other, especially on cloudy or moonless nights…..mid-air bird collisions can result in serious injury or death’
For small birds particularly, saving energy is important at this time of year. A small bird can use a lot of energy just trying to keep warm, so wasting energy flying at night can lead to exhaustion and death. The research showed that birds stayed in the air for approximately 45 minutes after the fireworks before settling down again. That’s a long time for a small bird to be using energy, whilst panicked, on a cold night.
Therefore it’s great news that Sainsbury’s has announced it won’t be selling fireworks but with an estimated $2.7 billion spent on fireworks last year there will still be a lot of wild animal deaths this year.