This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the historic Migratory Bird Treaty. Environmentalists find much to celebrate, but challenges remain for migratory bird populations.
The Migratory Bird Treaty will reach its centennial anniversary this year, leading many wildlife experts and organizations to reflect on its international success.
Signed in 1916 between the US and Great Britian (acting on behalf of Canada), the Migratory Bird Treaty is the first major US legislation that protects birds that migrate across international borders. The two countries agreed to stop hunting all insectivorous birds, such as bluebirds and hummingbirds, and to establish specific hunting seasons for game birds.
To better enforce the Treaty, Congress passed the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in 1918, declaring it “unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, possess, sell, purchase, barter, import, export or transport any migratory bird,” as well as any nest or eggs belonging to such birds, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) explains.