Rare bird, spooked by fireworks, thrashes itself to death

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 01, 2009

red browed amazon parrot

Photo: Red Browed Amazon

LOXAHATCHEE GROVES — Fireworks used to ring in the New Year instead led to a horrific scene at a local wildlife conservation center, officials said.

Workers at the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation doing a routine morning check-up today discovered a dead red-browed Amazon parrot with severe head and face injuries.
It was obvious from the bird's injuries that it had thrashed itself to death against its enclosure, said Paul Reillo, director of the conservation center.

The parrot was part of a recovery project to breed the rare species and reintroduce it to its natural habitat in the lowland humid forests of Brazil. The wild population is estimated to be between 1,000 and 2,500 birds, according to Birdlife International, an international conservation organization.

Reillo said the birds and other animals always get spooked by the fireworks, but this is the first time an animal has reacted so violently.
"We're doing everything we can to save these species and the lack of enforcement on fireworks regulations is basically undoing our best efforts," he said. "In the middle of the night, they're not expecting blasts and fireworks and gunshots. It's getting worse every year."
All but two of the entire North American population of the bird in captivity live at the conservation center. The male parrot that died was healthy and "essential to the breeding program," Reillo said.
"It's genetics were well-documented," he said. "This guy could have lived to be 50 or 60 years old and could have produced a generation of wildlife. The tragedy is that this animal's life is sacrificed for absolutely no reason."

Law enforcement officials said they are aware of the fireworks problem in the western communities, where the loud blasts agitate horses and other animals, but have a hard time enforcing the regulations. Fireworks that leave the ground or explode are illegal, but loopholes exist, such as using the fireworks to frighten birds away from agricultural areas.
An officer must observe a person firing off illegal fireworks in order to take action, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera said.

Deputies often meet with local homeowners associations before the Fourth of July to discuss fireworks regulations and safety, she said.
"It's been an ongoing problem out there," said Barbera, adding that there were more fireworks going off near her Royal Palm Beach home on New Year's Eve than she had "ever seen in years past."
Wellington resident Kathy Bozich counted down to the New Year from her horse Kapoen's stable on Draft Horse Lane Wednesday night, fearing a repeat of the "major issues" she had this summer.
"The Fourth of July was like bombs going off," Bozich said. "He went berserk."
Reillo said the public needs to be aware of the potential consequences of shooting off illegal fireworks.
"Any excuse for a holiday, and it's like Baghdad out here," he said. "It comes at a terrible cost."




MoonGoddess said...

This is horrible.

My grandmother used to live in that area & it is strange to have a block of residential areas, a block of shopping, then next thing you know there is a block in the middle of cows grazing or something like that. I can completely see how they would have issues like this. My dog gets scared at the sound of the fireworks but so far my budgie doesn't seem to care. I guess he feels safe in his cage & doesn't have the frame of reference to realize its a danger. (I blame TV for that!)

I hope that they learn from this & maybe in the future plan to relocate the birds on holidays that might lead to fireworks. Or something to help calm & protect these guys.

What a beautiful bird to lose.

DoodleBird said...

I thought the same thing when I read it, what a beautiful bird! I've never heard of a red browed amazon before.

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