Fireworks and birds can't fly together at Depoe Bay this year
DEPOE BAY, Ore. - An Independence Day holiday fireworks tradition was canceled this year and some people in this coastal town said they don't like losing out to a bunch of protected birds.
The fireworks were supposed to go off Tuesday night at Boiler Bay State Wayside. July 3 fireworks have been a staple here since 1993.
The birds causing all the controversy are migratory sea birds and some are federally protected.
Two years ago someone reported the fireworks were frightening nearby birds. The Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed that in a study during the 2011 fireworks.
Video from that study showed some birds were frightened by the flashes and booms. Wildlife biologists documented nine nests lost to predators after scared birds flew away.
Linda Wisniewski, owner of The Fuddy Duddy Fudge shop, said the cancellation of the fireworks show has disappointed customers.
"We tell them, you know there is no fireworks tonight and they don't believe us," she said.
Local residents like Pat Osuna are also fired up.
"I think it's so ridiculous that one person can call and say something like that that the fireworks are doing bad to these birds," she said. "It don't last that long. It's not gonna hurt those birds. I'm telling ya!"
Both Wisniewski and Osuna said the entire town feels the same way they do.
"There's a lot of people out there right now that are animal conscious as are we," said Wisniewski. "We love our birds here. They've been going through this every year."
The woman who called the Fish and Wildlife Service two years ago said the fireworks show could have been saved by simply moving it to a different location. A fish and wildlife spokesman confirmed that but said Depoe Bay leaders insisted on the usual spot.