Dear Audubon Activists,
Imagine traveling over 600 miles in a single day, all on your own power, or being able to dive 700 feet below the surface of the water with one breath. Imagine you decide you will go from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic Circle in little over a month's time and then do it again … every year. These are some of the amazing facts about migratory birds. Birds that are now in even greater danger than they were just a few months ago.
During the final days of the Trump presidency, the administration directed the Fish & Wildlife Service to no longer enforce the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in cases of incidental bird deaths. The Biden administration has put the implementation of this new interpretation of the Act on hold, and the Fish and Wildlife Service is taking comments on the law until March 1.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was enacted to prevent the slaughter of birds, such as egrets and herons, for feathers to adorn decorative hats in the early 1900s. The Act is one of the oldest conservation laws in the United States and today helps keep birds safe from industrial infrastructure and practices.
The Act requires industry to ensure their work does not result in the death of migratory bird species and holds them accountable if they do. The legislation fines companies responsible and helps fund critical conservation work to protect birds, as in the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, and closer to home in the North Cape oil spill of 1996. Rhode Island received $3,000,000 to restore shorebird habitat along the South County coastline.
Birds face threats from multiple fronts: climate change, plastic pollution, oil spills, and more. According to conservation scientists at the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology, nearly three billion birds have vanished since 1970. While infrastructure companies whose activities such as wind turbines have worked with conservation groups and wildlife agencies to implement best practices to protect birds, now is not the time to roll back these vital protections.
That's why we need you to take action.