Fireworks are bright, loud and deadly to nesting shorebirds, if they are displayed too close to a colony nesting on the beach. Fireworks are prohibited at Stump Pass Beach State Park, and at all Florida State Parks. Stump Pass Beach State Park has both Wilson’s Plovers nesting there as well as a thriving colony of Least Terns. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, adult Least Terns completely abandoned a nesting site that was a football field away from a fireworks display. Their report notes that fireworks within three quarters of a mile also caused birds distress and they temporarily abandoned eggs and chicks. When the adults are frightened away, the eggs in their nest or their tiny chicks can easily be eaten by gulls, raccoons, fish crows or other predators. Sea turtles interrupted in their nesting may be stressed by the lights and the noise. Hatchlings may get disoriented. The beach is a bad place for fireworks, which stress wildlife and create pollution for marine creatures.
You can help wildlife thrive and survive by staying away from posted shorebird nesting and turtle nesting areas and watching for flightless chicks who can’t read and wander outside the roped-off shorebird area. Keeps pets at home (dogs are not permitted anywhere on the beach at Stump Pass Beach State Park). Please pick up all of your trash, since scraps of food can attract predators, such as gulls, and sea turtles may mistake plastic for food. Let’s have a safe holiday for all of us, including our wildlife.