Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Protecting 100 Years of Successful Migratory Bird Conservation

More than 1000 birds, including this Ruby-throated Hummingbird, are protected by the MBTA. Photo: Richard Gray/Audubon Photography Awards

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) is America’s most important bird protection law. Passed in 1918 with the support of Audubon advocates and other early conservationists, the 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. However, 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. On May 24, 2018, National Audubon Society 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 full text of National Audubon Society v. U.S. Department of the Interior. You too can be an advocate for the MBTA! Your chapter can work with your city or municipality to celebrate your local birds and commemorate the MBTA centennial by issuing a proclamation declaring 2018 the “Year of the Bird,” our MBTA Proclamation Toolkit will help you get started! Read our one-pager on how the MBTA and industry can work together and 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. 

Migratory Bird Information

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell Honors Landmark Conservation Law
Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell Honors MBTA

Dingell, U.S. Congresswoman for Michigan's 12th district, entered into the Congressional Record, a statement commemorating the centennial anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Read more

Migratory Stopover Habitat
Migratory Stopover Habitat

Migratory Stopover Habitat

A key component of the Great Lakes initiative is the improvement of stopover habitat for migratory birds.

Read more

Planting for Chicago-area Migratory Birds
Birds

Planting for Migratory Birds

Any landscape - formal, informal, large or small - can attract rare and beautiful migrants if a few simple principles are followed

Read more

Ways You Can Help