New Year’s Eve fireworks aren’t for the birds

Fireworks trigger an “unprecedented flight response”

The use of fireworks on New Year’s Eve can cause a massive flight response in birds, researchers found. Using data from weather radar and bird counts, an international team of researchers working in the Netherlands found an average of 1,000 times as many birds are in the area near fireworks displays as on other night. In some cases, the numbers peak up to 100,000 times the normal number. The effects are strongest within 5 kilometers of fireworks, but even 10 kilometers away, birds in flight are ten times normal. That’s particularly concerning, researchers say, because of the widespread use of fireworks across the country to celebrate the New Year. The displays cause “a flight response in birds of unprecedented scale, with immediate and lasting energetic consequences,” researchers concluded.

Read the study in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Header Image: Fireworks burst in the skies on New Year’s Eve over Westkapelle, the Netherlands. Credit: Stephan Sprinz