Reverse the Rollback of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
In early January 2021, the Department of the Interior announced a final rule in the previous administration's effort to strip away critical bird protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), giving industries a free pass for bird deaths. This illegal rollback eliminates bird protections at a time when the latest science shows that bird populations are at serious risk from long-term declines and climate change. Fortunately, the Biden administration has taken steps to review and delay this devastating rule.
Now is the time to show your support for the MBTA by calling on the Interior Department and Congress to restore and reinforce bird protections. To voice your concerns over these deleterious changes, I urge you to go to the Audubon Washington alert and hit on the “Take Action” button. Go to: https://www.audubon.org/content/audubon-washington.
Please personalize the sample letter below and paste it in the box to your representative.
“I strongly support the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The recent removal of bird protections under the MBTA is deeply concerning to me, and I urge the Interior Department to restore the MBTA and reinstate protections for birds, and that Congress stands in support of these critical efforts.
Birds are a fundamental part of our ecosystems and culture and provide significant value to my community, the nation, and the world. Yet our bird populations are facing serious threats that have led to a decline of 3 billion birds in North America since 1970, while two-thirds of our bird species are at risk from climate change.
We need to be doing far more to protect and conserve birds, but the attack on the MBTA has only put birds at greater risk. The MBTA has provided longstanding and bipartisan protections for birds from avoidable hazards, but the rollback of the law has undermined the ability to reduce preventable bird deaths and help birds recover from events such as oil spills.
I urge the Interior Department to restore the MBTA and to create a new pathway for permitting under the law--and that Congress passes legislation to reinforce this effort--in order to help conserve birds and encourage practices that protect birds from the variety of threats they face. Now is the time to act to save our nation's birds, and I stand in strong support of the MBTA to help give them a fighting chance.”
Once again, please personalize the above message and paste it in the message in the link. Thanks for your help on this important issue!
Answering questions - sharing information – connecting with other birders virtually
Glass collisions are a huge problem for birds. The American Bird Conservancy estimates that up to a billion birds die in collisions with glass each year in the United States. Although most people have seen or heard a bird hit a window, they often believe it is an unusual event. Add up all those deaths and the number is staggering.
Then come to BirdYak!
- Have questions about a bird you recently saw?
- Have a recent bird sighting that you would like to share?
- Like to share a local birding venue or find out about one?
- Want to hear about birds others are finding?
BirdYak is an email “chatroom” or “listserve” for topics relating to birds and birding in Yakima County. It is probably the best and fastest way to reach many birders here. This list is open to anyone. Postings focus on issues of bird sightings and identification related to Yakima County, and associated topics such as local birding destinations and equipment. It is easy to post both text and photos and have questions answered by other local birders.
To subscribe to BirdYak, send an email to: BirdYakfirstname.lastname@example.org. If you decide BirdYak is not for you, unsubscribing is very easy. The first time you post, there may be a delay as your email is verified as not a robot or advertiser.
The BirdYak website can be seen at: https://groups.io/g/BirdYak. The entire archive of emails that have been sent to BirdYak since its beginning in November 2000 can be found on the website.
Both common and rare bird species hit windows. Back in 2015, Joe and I had a Red Crossbill hit one of our windows at our home here in Yakima. It was that crossbill striking the window and dying that inspired me to look for help preventing window strikes at our home.
Bird feeder and bird bath placement are important in helping to prevent collisions. The most likely place for birds hitting windows is near bird feeders. It may seem odd, but feeders are safest when they’re closest to windows—because if a bird takes off from the feeder or bath and hits the window, it won’t be going at top speed and has a better chance of surviving. Place feeders and baths CLOSER than 3 feet to a picture window (or even affixed to the glass or window frame), or FARTHER than 30 feet from a window.
There are other things you can do to help prevent birds from striking windows.
Decals are readily available on the internet or at stores for bird lovers. They are inexpensive and rated “highly effective” by the American Bird Conservancy. However, one or two decals on a small window may help reduce collisions, but become less effective as window size increases because birds will simply try to fly around them.
Vertical cords can also be mounted in front of glass. They are often referred to as “Zen Curtains.” We have used these at our place for five years, and we have been very pleased with the results. We know others in Yakima who use them as well. We have had birds bump the windows when they are trying to escape a hawk or falcon, but none of them have died since we have installed the cords.. Just a few days ago, we watched as a Sharp-shinned hawk chased a bird toward the window. The bird escaped, the hawk banked sharply and its tail brushed the window (making the cords move), but it flew off unharmed.
One example using vertical cords is called Acopian Bird Savers. They are fairly inexpensive and easy to install. Check out their website here: http://www.birdsavers.com/. You may purchase them from the website, but if you prefer, they will give you instructions on how to make your own. They do not charge for the plans. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, we’ve heard they are fairly easy to make.
For more information on these or other solutions for bird collisions, please visit the American Bird Conservancy’s website at https://abcbirds.org/get-involved/bird-smart-glass/