Joseph Ciarrocca’s July 20 letter, “Airshow promises dangerous entertainment,” regarding the Navy’s Blue Angels Brunswick visit on Aug. 26 and 27 cites, among other factors, excessive noise and vibration levels and their negative impact on human health.

Just four days later, internist Daniel Fink’s letter to The New York Times, “Noise Is A Health Hazard” listed the connection between noise, hearing loss, tinnitus, increase in stress hormones, and hypertension.

I add another concern: The sheer terror this tremendous unnatural sound may inflict on nearby wildlife. I’ll focus on neo-tropical migratory birds such as the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Hermit Thrush that navigate great distances from the southern United States, Central America, and South America to nest in Maine, using stars, the position of the sun, earth’s magnetic field, and land features such as mountain ranges and coastlines as directional cues. Birds might also use natural infrasonic signals, low frequency noises in the atmosphere.

In “The Genius of Birds,” Jennifer Ackerman writes about geophysicist Jon Hagstrum of the U.S. Geological Survey, who has been studying these infrasonic signals and bird migration for more than a decade. He was intrigued by the Great Pigeon Race Disaster of 1997 when thousands of homing pigeons, out of a starting 60,000, never returned to England from their release site in France, 500 to 600 miles across the English Channel.

Hagstrum investigated and discovered that a Concorde SST had taken off from Paris and crossed the pigeon flight route on that very day. Perhaps the Concorde’s “sonic boom carpet was so loud it obliterated the pigeons’ navigational acoustic map, completely disorienting them.”

Could extreme noise also impact bird populations around Brunswick during the air show?

Must human and wildlife populations be subjected to such horrific sound from air show and pre-show practice?

Bronda Niese
Brunswick