Releasing balloons, as they go fluttering into the deep blue sky, is an old tradition used to celebrate a happy occasion like a wedding or commemorate a sad event like a death.
It’s fun to watch the balloons sail away until you can’t see them anymore, but what goes up must come down.
And when those balloons do come down, scientists say they are killing birds.
“Balloons are a huge threat, not only to birds, but turtles and other marine life,” said Fiona Maxwell, campaigner with the Australian Marine Conservation Society, in an article back in May.
So how are balloons a danger to birds? Read on.
Blocks digestive system
One of the biggest dangers to birds occurs when they accidentally ingest a balloon. It’s hard to know exactly what’s going through a bird’s head when it sees a latex balloon scrap (or whole balloon) but apparently it can look pretty delicious. And when the balloon does find its way into the digestive tract, it’s nothing but trouble.
Here’s another quote from the article (though it’s not clear who said it): “When its mixed in with stomach juices, the stuff becomes horrible, almost like chewing gum, and it just blocks them up.”