New Year’s Eve fireworks cause mass exodus of birds
Birds flee to unusual heights on the most noisy night of the year. Judy Shamoun-Baranes, of the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, wrote a blog post about this specific bird’s behaviour on New Year’s Eve for Oxford University Press. The article is based on an earlier publication in the scientific journal ‘Behavioral Ecology’.
In 2010 a multi-disciplinary team with researchers from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and the Royal Netherlands Air Force documented with radar the reaction of free living birds to fireworks for the first time. The study showed that after midnight birds take off to high altitudes, up to 800 meters. They remain there until the calm is restored. It is expected that this fleeing behaviour causes negative effects for the energy reserves, stress level and the immune capacity of the birds.
Judy Shamoun-Baranes is an assistant professor in the Computational Geo-Ecology group, in the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics. She is an Ornithologist working at the interface of ecology, meteorology and earth science using methods such as radar and individual GPS tracking to study bird behaviour.