It has been known for some time that wild birds fly in droves at the turn of the year, but it has now become clear that they need days to process the effect of fireworks.

Four types of geese

The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior have studied this among hundreds of geese in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.

The researchers tracked four species of geese with a transmitter for eight years. During the fireworks, the birds immediately left their sleeping places, looking for another place further away from people. They covered distances of 10 to 500 kilometers. The geese also flew much higher than usual. Once they arrived at a new location, the birds remained restless for days.

Advocate for a ban on fireworks

Animals also spent significantly more time grazing in the days following the fireworks disruption. According to animal ecologist Bart Nolet of NIOO-KNAW, they do this to compensate for the energy they consumed during their fireworks flight.

The ban on fireworks during the corona pandemic gave researchers a unique opportunity to see what would happen if far fewer fireworks were set off. But even then, the fireworks still had a negative effect on two of the four species of geese studied.

Nolet advocates the prohibition of fireworks near protected ornithological areas and important birding stops.