Birders and U.S. Federal Laws

Faanes, Craig A.
Vaughn,Cleveland Jr.
Andrew, Jonathan M.
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Publication Date: 

Faanes, Craig A., Cleveland Vaughn, Jr., and Jonathan M. Andrew. 1992. Birders and U.S. Federal Laws. Birding. 24(5):299-302. Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. (Version 18SEP97).

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703-712) (hereafter "the Act") is the cornerstone for migratory-bird conservation and protection in the U.S. The Act was established in response to the unregulated and indiscriminate taking of birds. Plume hunters at the turn of the century had nearly decimated the continental population of Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) and other related species. At about the same time, market hunting caused the near-extinction of several shorebird species, including among others the Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis), Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica), and Lesser Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica). Many state laws were enacted at the turn of the century in an attempt to curtail market hunting.