Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support NHPR's local journalism that brings clarity, context, and community!

A protected species of baby bird cancels Hampton Beach Memorial Day fireworks

Courtesy J. Maughn via Flickr/Creative Commons.
A piping plover enjoys a bit of sunshine. But no fireworks, please.

The Memorial Day fireworks show at Hampton Beach has been canceled over concerns that high foot traffic could hurt an endangered bird species.

Piping plovers, a small shoreline bird, typically settle into dunes and rocky areas, avoiding humans, but when people were hunkering down during the pandemic, says Chuck Rage with the Hampton Beach Village District, the birds started spreading out.

“They just saw an empty beach and they decided, ‘Oh, this is a good spot,’ ” Rage said.

But once plovers settle into a spot, they return to the same location year after year. Since they’re an endangered species, they need to be protected. For the plovers, Hampton Beach is a good location to hatch young.

“I guess in the rest of the country they're doing terrible,” Rage said. “New Hampshire is doing really well with them.”

Rage said they decided to cancel Hampton Beach’s Memorial Day fireworks because the birds' nesting patterns could be disturbed by loud noises and excess traffic.

Other parts of New England have also shut down fireworks to make sure hatchlings get their chance to grow.

At Hampton, Rage says the changes are just temporary. The plovers' nesting period usually wraps up by mid to late June, just in time for the fourth of July.

In the meantime, Hampton Beach will still keep hosting other events like the Eastern Sound Band on May 25. Though the concert will be farther away from the flock.

Olivia joins us from WLVR/Lehigh Valley Public Media, where she covered the Easton area in eastern Pennsylvania. She has also reported for WUWM in Milwaukee and WBEZ in Chicago.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.