Trump moves to weaken Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Dark-eyed Juncos are among the common bird species that are disappearing.
Photo by Bill Thompson, USFWS.

Many North American bird populations are declining at an alarming rate. The findings of an international team of researchers, written by lead author Ken Rosenberg, a senior scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy, showed that 29%, about 3 billion birds, have vanished from North America and Canada during the last 50 years. Those findings were released in a report last year and published in the journal Science in September 2019. To learn about the findings, visit

Currently, the Trump administration is attempting to relax provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to protect industries that unintentionally kill birds. The following story by Kurt Repanshek, with National Parks Traveler, presents updates on that issue. –HM


By Kurt Repanshek

Despite the loss of billions of birds over the past five decades, and the economic benefits of sustained migratory species, the Trump administration is moving forward with plans to weaken the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by allowing unintentional killings of birds.

The posting of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s final environmental impact statement on the changes to the act come, ironically, despite a federal judge ruling this past summer that the revisions produced by the Interior Department are “contrary to the plain meaning of the MBTA and therefore must be vacated.”

While public comment on the EIS runs through December 28, the changes are opposed by a bipartisan collection of politicians in Congress, 25 states, and various conservation groups.

“President Trump may have pardoned a turkey this week, but he’s in a frenzy to finalize his bird-killer policy before the end of the year,” David Yarnold, president and CEO of the National Audubon Society, said Friday. “The administration lost in court and is sidestepping that ruling with a rushed, corrupt process designed to keep the next administration from saving the lives of millions of birds. Reinstating this 100-year-old bedrock law must be a top conservation priority for the Biden-Harris administration and the 117th Congress.”

To read the entire story see:

About Howard Meyerson

After more than 30 years in the outdoor writing business, you would think I'd know better.
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