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    New year fireworks led to disaster for birds

    © Natuurpunt
    © Natuurpunt

    Fireworks set off over New Years proved a disaster for the country’s birds, according to Natuurpunt, the Flemish nature conservancy organisation. According to weather radar, normally used to monitor rainfall, the movements of large volumes of birds on 31 December was greatly increased as a result of firework activity. “In normal circumstances there are far too few birds to register on our weather data,” the national weather service said. “But when the number of birds in the airspace increases greatly, the radar can pick it up.”

    Natuurpunt took recordings of the weather data, converted into recordings, just before and just after midnight at New Year. They showed a mass flight of birds into the sky at that period, which was over by about half past twelve. “For ornithologists,” said Natuurpunt, “this is shocking news”.

    In related news: An emu being treated at the bird and mammal care centre at Heusden-Zolder for shock as a result of fireworks which caused it to jump the fence of its enclosure and stray onto the public highway at New Year.

    “Things turned out okay with the animal,” the centre’s Rudi Oyen told VRT Radio. “Ostrich-type animals are very sensitive to stress. When you try to capture them, stress can kill them.”

    Animations by Natuurpunt showing movement of birds around midnight at New Year.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times