No Birds For You! House Passes Provision to End All Migratory Bird Protections in the United States (UPDATED)

Carolina chickadee (photo courtesy of Dan Pancamo)

Spring is finally here, and with it the return of birds to backyards and playgrounds across America. So, naturally, it is also the perfect time for Congressional Republicans to completely suspend one of the main laws protecting them.

First passed in 1918, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is one of America's original conservation laws. It protects familiar visitors like cardinals and chickadees; raptors such as bald eagles and prairie falcons, and, of course, the many ducks and other waterfowl that sportsmen treasure.

Last night, reportedly without a recorded vote, the House of Representatives Commerce, Justice, Science Committee included a rider, offered by Congressman Duncan (R-SC), in the Department of Commerce's and Department of Justice's budget appropriations bill that would prohibit the federal government from prosecuting anyone from violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Here is the exact language:

MBTA Rider

Yep, forget the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (without the possibility of enforcement, laws don't mean much, do they?). If Representative Duncan gets his way it's open season for birds across the country. Because, really, who needs hummingbirds or eagles?

UPDATE: My original post was mistaken. This amendment was, in fact, added to the appropriations bill by the entire House on a voice vote. It's now up to the Senate and the President to prevent this provision from becoming law.

About the Authors

Andrew Wetzler

Deputy Chief Program Officer

Join Us