Firework fireworks
Photo Credit: Pexels

It’s Guy Fawkes which means many people will set off fireworks, we often share the risks for our beloved pets but we cannot forget the small wildlife either.


South Africa – BirdLife South Africa and Garden Route Birds are working to raise awareness about the effects of fireworks on birds and other wildlife. BirdLife SA shared information with Garden Route Birds hoping to spread awareness as far and as wide as possible.

“Studies have shown that fireworks cause birds to take flight from their nighttime roosts often leading to collisions with buildings, advertisement boards, trees and other structures which are hidden by the lack of light. These collisions can cause serious injury to the birds and often result in fatalities.”

They shared a list of how fireworks affect our little (and bigger) birds and wildlife. The hope is that by raising awareness about the risks to our wildlife, that people may reconsider the use of fireworks to celebrate and rather find alternatives that are mindful and better for the environment.

This is how birds are affected:

  • Heightened stress levels and panicked responses to loud noise stimuli resulting in unexpected physiological and energetic costs for the bird.
  • Disturbance during night-time roosting resulting in birds taking flight and risking collision with terrestrial infrastructure.
  • Displacement of birds from their established territories.
  • Abandonment of nests leading to failed breeding after exposure to fireworks.
  • Exposure to toxic gases released by fireworks including sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide.
  • Risk of poisoning from abandoned fireworks casings after detonation.
  • Risk of entanglement, particularly of waterbirds, in remnants of fireworks which land in wetlands. Seabirds face the same risk with debris landing in the ocean.

If you would like to learn more about how to protect birds and small wildlife, you can follow Garden Route Birds and BirdLife South Africa via Facebook. If you happen to find an injured bird, your local vet should be contacted. The vet will be able to instruct on how to handle the bird or which organisation to contact for further assistance.

If you are also worried about your pets, you can read up on how to calm them here.

Sources: BirdLife SA / Garden Route Birds (linked above)
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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