Audubon Florida wants everyone to avoid use of fireworks near beaches, mindful of wildlife

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

Audubon Florida is asking Southwest Florida community members to watch where personal fireworks are launched during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Audubon Florida wants revelers to avoid lighting personal fireworks near the beach. It’s part of an effort to protect shorebirds, which are already threatened in Florida.

“I mean, most people aren’t trying to disrupt the wildlife,” said Adam Dinuovo, who is Audubon Florida’s Southwest Florida shorebird program manager. “They just don’t know.”

As folks look for ways to observe the occasion, community members are asked to keep the fireworks away from the beach.

Dinuovo said now is a particular time of year to be mindful of feathered friends on our shores.

“This time of year and especially with Tropical Storm Cristobal, which kind of set our nesting back a little bit, we have birds sitting on eggs on the beach,” Dinuovo said

That means big booms can make birds scatter and lead to bigger problems.

“The chicks don’t have protection from the adults,” Dinuovo said. “They’re susceptible to the elements, to predators. They can wander far down the beach and not make it back to the colony.”

And the impact doesn’t fizzle out after the explosion.

“That just leaves trash in the environment, so it ends up in the water,” Dinuovo said. “It could end up in birds. It could end up in turtles. It doesn’t look nice.”

Even though many beaches have restricted fireworks, there are concerns people will still set them off. Audubon Florida will return to the beach after Fourth of July to check on the shorebird colony.

Dinuovo further emphasized the importance for this part of nesting season for shorebirds in Southwest Florida.

“This is it, like after this wave of nesting,” Dinuovo said. “It’s kind of late in the summer, and the birds won’t try again. So this is kind of their last shot to have a productive breeding season.”

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