The team at IFCNR hopes everyone had a wonderful and safe Fourth of July!
This holiday is no doubt a summer favorite filled with fun outdoor activities for friends and family, the highlight often involving an elaborate display of dazzling fireworks.
As fun as fireworks can be, whether enjoying your own at home or attending the city’s larger display, the loud noises they create often cause fear, stress, and anxiety for domestic and wild animals. Most animals have far more acute hearing than humans. Humans can hear sounds between 20 and 20,000 hertz while a dog can hear between 40 and 60,000 hertz. So that loud boom of a firework to us is that much more intense for them.
Effects to wildlife are often documented by animal shelters during times of the year with heavy firework use. A common example is the fleeing of wildlife into roadways due to being panicked by the sudden loud sounds. This often results in an increase of animal deaths, especially for deer and smaller mammals, as well as vehicle damage.
Not only do these animals have a risk of being hit by vehicles when fleeing, but also nesting animals can end up leaving their babies behind defenseless and alone. The fear and confusion can even disorient a wildlife parent so much that they are unable to locate their nests after the panic causing the babies to die. Flying birds suffer from these disorientating effects as well. The panic and disorientation can cause them to fly into windows and buildings or even too far out to sea trying to escape the noise.
Although the effects of fireworks to animals can be harmful, it is unlikely people will stop using them during these enjoyable times of the year. So how does one adjust their holiday fun to accommodate these potential harms to wildlife? Some easy tips to minimize this stress if you choose to use fireworks include: removing or covering bird feeders and baths several hours before lighting fireworks, not using fireworks near trees, brush piles, or other sheltered areas where wildlife may be living, choosing quieter types of fireworks, and bringing pets inside plenty of time before igniting.
Next holiday or celebration, if using fireworks, remember to enjoy them responsibly while keeping the local domestic and wild animals safe!