Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial
Compiled by Marla Mertz, Naturalist, Marion County Conservation

The last several homepage topics have led up to the 100 year celebration of the conference that lead to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). We’ve highlighted John F. Lacey and the federal conservation legislation in which he dedicated his service to the protection of birds over a century ago; a little bit about birds and what makes them unique; modern day extinction; Iowa’s Bird Conservation Areas (BCA) and other items of interest to those who have a passion for birds and their local and global connections. This is not the typical column that this site normally chooses, but we would like to introduce to you how Iowa, the United States, and other countries have pulled together to adopt a uniform system of protection to assure the preservation of our avian species.


Visit these pages:

Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial 1916-2016 Timeline: This is a fascinating link that has an interactive timeline about Bird Conservation History. This timeline begins in 1799 when Benjamin Smith Barton publishes the first ornithological book in the U.S. to present year centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty convention. Includes numerous initiatives, conservation acts, conservation plans, breeding bird surveys, treaties with Japan and Russia, waterfowl management, and much more. Below are a just a few historical moments from the timeline:

1900
The Lacey Act limited market hunting by making it illegal to transport or sell a bird in one state when illegally hunted in another state. When the Lacey Act was passed in 1900, it became the first federal law protecting wildlife. It enforces civil and criminal penalties for the illegal trade of animals and plants. Today it regulates the import of any species protected by international or domestic law and prevents the spread of invasive, or non-native, species.

snowy egret
1916
Convention Treaty with Canada - Treaty between the United States and Great Britain (on behalf of Canada) for the Protection of Migratory Birds that adopted a uniform system of protection with the goal – “assure the preservation of species either harmless or beneficial to man”; establishes species to be covered by the treaty; makes the first distinction between game birds, insectivorous birds, and non-game birds; set closed dates for hunting game birds, closed the season entirely on insectivorous & other non-game birds; established the take of birds for scientific or propagating purposes for insectivorous and other non-game birds; prohibits export of birds and eggs except for scientific and propagating purposes; and establishes permits to control birds that become agricultural pests.
eastern meadowlark
1917
Canada passes Migratory Bird Convention Act

1918
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Woodrow Wilson on July 3, 1918.

2016
The year 2016 marks the centennial of the Convention between the United States and Great Britain (for Canada) for the Protection of Migratory Birds, officially called the "Convention for the Protection of Migratory Birds."

Why the celebration?
Birds are around us each and every day! Something we must not take for granted. 
There are many reliable organizations in Iowa, plus the US Fish and Wildlife Service, that are involved in the world of our birds. Here are a few organizations that you may enjoy looking into and seeing what they are all about!

hooded mergansers

Take this centennial as an opportunity to learn more about the birds that share our environment!

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