Migratory Bird Treaty Act

This critical law saves millions of birds' lives each year.

A flock of Western Sandpipers. Photo: Don McCullough/Flickr Creative Commons

May 24, 2018 -- National Audubon Society has filed suit against the Department of the Interior, challenging its move to eliminate longstanding protections for waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Read the press release here.

Read the full text of National Audubon Society v. U.S. Department of the Interior.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is America’s most important bird protection law. Passed in 1918 with the support of Audubon advocates and other early conservationists, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) protects nearly all of our country’s native birds. The law carries out the 1916 Migratory Bird Treaty with Canada, and later treaties signed with Mexico, Japan, and Russia, in order to protect our nation’s shared bird species. The MBTA is credited with saving numerous species from extinction, such as the Snowy Egret, Wood Duck, and Sandhill Crane, and millions, if not billions of other birds.

Yet, even as we celebrate 100 years of the law in 2018—the Year of the Bird—the MBTA has come under attack. The Trump administration announced an interpretation of the MBTA that would give a free pass for all bird deaths from industrial activities, and similar legislative proposals have been advanced in Congress.

To help defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, read on below to find links with more information, read our one-pager on how the MBTA and industry can work together, or check out our fact sheet. Visit our action page to write to Congress and the administration, and consider writing a Letter to the Editor of your local paper. 

Defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Join us as we work to keep birds safe now, and for the future.

Oiled Brown Pelican. Photo: Kim Hubbard/Audubon