With vote on fireworks ban, Vancouver councillors reveal their level of concern for bird populations

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      Anyone who spends 10 minutes on the Internet can figure out that fireworks are fairly traumatic for many animals.

      Cats, and dogs freak out when the explosions occur every Halloween night. That's well documented.

      But in this column, I'm going to focus on birds. Some feathered creatures abandon their nests because they're so panicked by the booms that accompany pyrotechnic displays.

      Other birds fly into buildings.

      An ornithologist once estimated that about 5,000 blackbirds died on New Year's Eve in Beebe, Arkansas, as a result of one New Year's Eve orgy of fireworks.

      "They were bouncing off houses, basketball backboards, trucks," Karen Rowe of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said, according to USA Today.

      The same article noted that another 450 birds died in Louisiana and hundreds more died in Kentucky due to the New Year's Eve explosions.

      Yesterday, Vancouver councillors Pete Fry, Adriane Carr, Jean Swanson, Christine Boyle, Lisa Dominato, Rebecca Bligh, and Sarah Kirby-Yung voted to ban the retail sale of fireworks, starting in 2021.

      Through this vote, these seven councillors demonstrated they recognize that human beings share the city with other creatures.

      Birds deserve not to die so that human beings can gaze into the sky and see sudden bright flashes accompanied by loud booms.

      Mayor Kennedy Stewart and councillors Michael Wiebe and Melessa De Genova voted against the motion.

      The city's own website declares that birds are "an excellent indicator of a healthy ecosystem—a link between people and local biodiversity".

      "Our goal is for Vancouver to be a world leader in supporting a rich and diverse group of native birds year-round by 2020," the city declares.

      The seven councillors who voted to prohibit the retail sale of fireworks across the city took a positive step this week to achieve that objective.

      The same can't be said of the three who voted against the ban.