Have you ever wondered why migratory birds are protected by federal law across North America? Exactly 100 years ago we were on the verge of losing dozens of North American bird species including great egrets, snowy egrets, great blue heron, and wood ducks. Market hunting for meat as well as for birds’ plumes, a fashionable statement in women’s hats of the time, were the leading cause of species decline.
It was when conservationists boldly stood up to this chaos and reversed the trend, saving the lives of billions of birds. Thus, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA) was born. This year, we celebrate 100 years of this important act that protects our migratory birds: http://ow.ly/2CJq30kFDB7 And in celebration over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting reasons why birds are important to humans.
First reason: birds are beautiful! Male wood ducks with their extraordinary feathers get their share of attention but have you ever really looked at a common blue jay despite their abundance statewide? Various shades of blues accented with white wing-bars and a black necklace literally topped with a striking crest? Extraordinary. Birds are also accessible and ever-present (if we remember to slow down and to open our eyes to the world around us). Pay attention to your surroundings today, and notice that birds are always in our company.