Dear editor,

I had the pleasure of volunteering at Oysterfest again this year and want to compliment the organizers on their professional production of such a huge event. Of particular note was the wonderful fireworks display on opening night which wowed the crowd. I was especially delighted to see the display conducted from a barge parked offshore on the bay. May I suggest that all the professional displays in Rockport-Fulton utilize that same approach, including the annual 4th of July celebration in conjunction with the Art Festival. For years I have worried about our shorebirds who have been freaked out by the sudden explosions immediately overhead from fireworks launched on the beaches and land areas around Little Bay.

Many years ago when the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor still existed, I was asked by the late Tony Amos to assist with the rescue of an injured blue heron who needed to be caught and transferred to the ARK in Port Aransas for care and rehabilitation. I asked him about birds and fireworks to which he responded by telling me that he saw many birds following the 4th that were injured or killed by being frightened from the explosions, flying blind into highline wires, trees, windows and other obstacles. Not to mention late hatchlings who were abandoned by their parents. From then on I have not been able to enjoy our Little Bay displays, much like many others I know. There are also numerous antidotal reports from those who have witnessed the frantic flights of shorebirds attempting to escape the sights and sounds of these displays.

I love our celebrations and the fireworks that punctuate our joy in living in this wonderful place but our birds also make Rockport-Fulton special. Isn’t it possible for the Navigation District and the sponsors to work together to ensure our birds have a better chance of making it through our festivities by taking a page from Oysterfest and moving the display offshore?

Phil Wildfang

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