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Birds beware

June 30, 2017
By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS - Garden Club of Cape Coral ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

This is one of the largest holiday celebrations in the U.S. - July 4th - the days we celebrate our nation's independence.

I say days because this is not a one-day event. We take days to gear up for the celebration of our independence. Food, drink, decorations, flags flying everywhere, grills being scraped clean for the backyard cooks, gassing up the car.

I know that sounds a bit off, but hey, first time in years gas has been this cheap, so, great, more people on the roads!

Independence Day was declared in the U.S. 241 years ago, on July 4, 1776. It was declared a holiday in 1870. Federal employees started getting this day as a paid holiday. That meant they were very hardworking people in those days.

John Adams, bless his heart, envisioned a sky full of brilliant colors, patriotic music and bells. Oops, actually all of that good stuff came a year later, July 4, 1777. In 1776, they celebrated quietly with some bells and music.

Sometimes it pays to not celebrate too much at first, until you know you have a sure system working. The Star Spangled Banner, which became our national anthem in 1931, stirs many hearts when we hear it played each 4th.

Oh, yes, birds. Why am I concerned about birds? It seems since the 1700s many people have become overly patriotic.

Fireworks are now the main attraction in celebrating. Fireworks, while lovely and awesome, also cause a few bad problems, which cannot be regulated.

They have been known to start fires on someone's roof, and leave holes in pool cages and unprotected convertibles.

They cause loss of fingers and other body parts, and they are extremely noisy.

We do have a law that permits legal buying of fireworks. Judging by the dozen or more large firework tents in the Cape, there are a lot of farmers lining up to buy. The regulation problem is, area farmers and would-be farmers are signing up to legally buy fireworks to protect farm areas that do not exist.

Most of us understand that birds do not like loud noises. The misunderstanding is that the majority of birds fly around causing trouble for farmers in the daylight, not after sunset.

Bats may be disturbed by fireworks, but gardeners know that they are out there eating hundreds of mosquitos all night. We need that.

Law enforcement is virtually at a standstill with any kind of enforcement. You sign a paper, you are a farmer and entitled to scare birds all you want- no one is going to follow you home to your farm to check.

You can complain about your neighbors being noisy, and someone will have to come and waste their time talking about the problem.

Neighbors should get together and celebrate, and watch out for flying embers, and not blow up bombs next to the ol' grumpy senior neighbor down the street. It is going to happen.

We have our independence, and we are going go celebrate loud and clear. Stand up when they play the national anthem, check with neighbors to see if any problems were caused by your own celebration. Try not to frighten any birds and watch public fireworks displays, taking place on a barge out in the water, as you support your community and the almighty need we have to make a buck.

H.I. Jean Shields is Past President of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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