What You Should Know About The Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Year of the Bird
One of my earliest memories is feeding birds in my grandparent’s yard. My love of birds started there and now I share that experience with my own children. Birds are an important part of our ecosystem, they inspire art and music, and are a simple way to connect with the outside world. You may have heard the phrase, ‘The Year of the Bird,’ and wondered what that meant. 2018 marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. In honor of this milestone, we at Go Adventure Mom are joining forces with other nature lovers around the world to celebrate the “Year of the Bird” and are committing to the continued protection of birds for many more years.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Thanks to the hard work of the National Audubon Society, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act has saved countless birds. Signed into law in 1918, it is currently one of the oldest wildlife protection laws on the books. According to the US Fish & Wildlife Services, the MBTA “makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird.” There are several notable success stories, the Trumpeter Swan, the Snowy Egret, the Wood Duck, and Sandhill Crane just to name a few. It continues to protect nearly all 1,000 native birds in the U.S.
Even though the MBTA does a lot to keep birds safe, many of the problems birds face today are new and not specifically covered. Companies, including some in the oil and electric utility sectors, working with conservation groups and wildlife agencies, have come up with simple and cheap ways to protect birds. But when voluntary protection has failed, the MBTA provides accountability through law enforcement by issuing penalties in serious cases. And, the MTBA provides incentive to implement protections in the future.
There is new legislation making its way in Congress that would end the ability to hold industries accountable for bird deaths. HR 4239 would prevent enforcement of “incidental” bird deaths and it removes incentives for companies to adopt practices that protect birds from threats. If passed, only purposeful takes would be prosecuted under the law. Power lines, communication towers, uncovered oil waste pits, and even wind turbines would kill millions of birds, and no one would be held accountable.
How you can help
There are many ways to get involved.
Join us in discovering simple but meaningful steps that anyone can take to help birds each month and take the pledge to participate.
Sign the pledge HERE (https://www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/year-of-the-bird/).
Throughout the year, people will be taking action to support birds and you can join in!
See how you can participate locally with actions HERE (http://www.audubon.org/yearofthebird).
There is a complete calendar of events, if you would like to plan ahead, HERE (https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54f24f62e4b0d588ceced5d2/t/5a5000cde4966bf98196dfe4/1515192539011/Year+of+the+Bird+Calendar.pdf).
Share your actions using #BirdYourWorld to increase your impact.