FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Audubon Florida is asking people to keep personal fireworks off the beach on the Fourth of July. The organization says that for beach-nesting birds like black skimmers, least terns and snowy plovers - which are nesting on the southern end of Fort Myers Beach and on Marco Island - fireworks can literally scare them to death.
"Most wildlife would be alarmed by loud explosions and bright light at night," said Audubon Florida's Adam DiNuovo. "Prolonged disturbances at night can cause colony abandonment, where the adults would just leave the chicks."
"The chicks also get scared, and they scatter all around, and makes them more susceptible to predators," he added. "So just stick to the city and county-sanctioned fireworks, and the birds will be much happier."
DiNuovo said people enjoying the beach can help protect the nesting birds in another way - by cleaning up after themselves when it's time to go home.
"Trash from beach-goers on the Fourth of July can attract predators as well," he said. "So once people leave, the predators come because of the trash on the beach."
DiNuovo asks that beach visitors pay attention to signs and barriers for nesting bird colonies, and walk safely outside of roped-off sections of beach. Visitors should feel free to ask any Audbon volunteers near the nesting colonies about the bird species.