Migratory Bird Treaty Act Threatened

This year, our nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), one of our nation’s oldest and most important wildlife conservation laws. Audubon led the charge to help pass the law in 1918, and it has since saved millions of birds as well as prevented the extinction of numerous species.


Now signs are pointing to growing threats to this law, placing America’s birdlife in danger. A new interpretation of the law by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now claims the law does not apply to incidental or accidental deaths of migratory birds, thereby reversing decades of precedent. The opinion means that the administration will not hold industries accountable for preventable bird deaths. In addition, amendment H.R. 4239 proposed by a member of Congress, would change the law to cement in this interpretation and permanently end the government’s ability to address major sources of bird mortality from industrial activities. These efforts threaten to undermine the

ability of the MBTA to address the incidental take of birds under the law and would represent the most significant rollback of the law in its 100-year history.


Because of our concern, BVAS has signed onto a National Audubon Society letter to Congress urging them to oppose any effort to reduce protections against the incidental take of birds under the MBTA. You can also help by urging your members of the Department of the Interior and your members of Congress to uphold and defend bird protections in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

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