Fireworks disturbance across bird communities — Code & Data
Fireworks are important parts of celebrations globally, but little remains known about their effect on wildlife. The synchronized and extraordinary use of fireworks on New Year's Eve causes a strong flight response in birds. We use weather radar and systematic bird counts to quantify how flight response differs across bird communities and determine the distance-dependence of this relationship. On average, approximately 1000 times more birds were in flight during New Year’s Eve than on regular nights. We found disturbance from fireworks decreases with distance, most strongly in the first 5 km, but overall flight activity remained elevated tenfold up to about 10 km. We found that communities of large-bodied species respond more strongly than those of smaller birds. Given the pervasive nature of this disturbance, mitigation should be achieved by establishing large firework-free zones or centralizing fireworks in urban centers. Conservation action should prioritize the most disturbance-prone, larger-bodied, bird communities.