- Associated Press - Friday, July 4, 2014

SIESTA KEY, Fla. (AP) - Audubon Florida is asking beach-going Floridians to help protect coastal birds by leaving personal fireworks at home and attending official displays instead on this holiday weekend.

Julie Wraithmell, Audubon Florida’s Director of Wildlife Conservation, says large and small fireworks explosions are especially frightening to coastal birds and their dependent chicks.

Birdwatchers say two recent incidents highlight the need for increased awareness of Florida’s coastal nesting birds. In June, a Least Tern colony was destroyed by visitors with unleashed dogs on Disappearing Island near New Smyrna Beach. Also in June, Snowy Plover, Black Skimmer, and Least Tern nests were crushed by a motorcycle rider that ignored signs on Siesta Key.

Wraithmell says folks on the beach should respect posted areas, even if they don’t see birds.

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