100 Years of the Migratory Bird Treaty


Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial, Image: US Fish and Wildlife Service

This is Passport to Texas

This year is the centennial of the Convention between the United States and Great Britain for the Protection of Migratory Birds–also called the Migratory Bird Treaty.

That was signed by Great Britain for Canada at the time–in August of 1916–where that was a protection for all migratory birds between Canada and the United States.

Shaun Oldenburger, a migratory game bird biologist with Parks and Wildlife, says as early as the 1860s grassroots efforts evolved to develop game laws for birds.

There became this knowledge that birds cross political boundaries, and that they needed protection in both wintering and breeding locations. This primarily happened due to some droughts that were occurring, some habitat loss that was occurring during the earliest part of the 20th century. And so, some very smart people and some very proactive individuals got together and decided that we needed to protect these birds both on the breeding and wintering grounds.

It was that understanding of natural laws that set the stage for the Convention and man’s laws.

The idea of the convention is that we need this holistic protection for these birds across their lifecycle. I think it’s really interesting that as long ago as a hundred–and even more than a hundred years ago–people were thinking about conserving species, when I think that a lot of us consider it [conserving species], sort of, a new idea. Yeah. It’s amazing. In fact, a lot of the bird conservation work we’ve had has really spawned in the last 30 or 40 years. But, the premise–in the state of Texas and beyond the boundaries in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and japan–was established in the 19th Century.

We’ll talk more about the Migratory Bird Treaty tomorrow.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Comments are closed.