The Migratory Bird Treaty turns 100: A discussion about a conservation cornerstone
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The Migratory Bird Treaty turns 100: A discussion about a conservation cornerstone

November 18, 2019


[ Background Noises ]>>Good morning everyone. Thanks for tuning in to the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service Pacific Region’s Facebook live. Today is August 16th, 2016 and we are at Cooper
Mountain Wildlife Area in Beaverton Oregon. And we’re out and it’s a clear, sunny day. We’ve got wonderful nature around us and
if it’s coming through the microphone, we can hear some birds in the background. And with us we have wildlife biologist
Roberta Swift to explain to us a little bit about the birds that we’re seeing today. Good morning Roberta.>>Good morning Rylan.>>Alright so we’re hearing birds to our
left and we’re hearing birds to our right. What kind of birds are you
seeing and hearing today?>>You know, I don’t know if
you can hear it in the shrubs over here, but I’m here a Bewick’s Wren. He’s doing a little chipping and then just over
our heads we just heard an Anna’s hummingbird. And on the way down here we’re hearing
a Western wood pewee in the distance. To me they’re the sound of summer. As soon as the Western wood pewees
show up, you know its summertime. It’s getting hot, it’s getting dry and we also
heard some spotted towhees on the way down. So it’s morning, but it’s not that early
considering it’s going to be a warm day today, so birds might, they’re still active, but they
might be starting to settle down a little bit.>>So if people are thinking about
coming out to someplace to bird, what kinds of recommendations would you
have for them as far as what to bring? What time of day to come?>>Well if you’re going to see things
like songbirds, you want to get here as early as you can in the morning. There something called the dawn chorus and if
you get here just before dawn or just after dawn when it’s just starting to warm up and
lighten up, you’ll hear the most birds. You also want to be really quiet,
kind of stealthy and not make a lot of fast movements, you’ll
see the most birds then. Maybe not talk very much, you
know its fun to go with friends, but if you want to keep it a birding trip,
you just want to keep your voices down low.>>And that’s awesome. So we’re kind of in the middle
of summer and it’s today in particular is a particularly important
day for the birds that we’re seeing. And the fact that we can see so many birds,
so today we’re celebrating the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty which 100 years
ago really laid a cornerstone for the abundance of birds that we’re seeing today. Can you kind of talk about what that treaty
is about and how it’s used so effectively to conserve birds and you know to just
maintain the abundance that we see today?>>Well in the 1800’s and the early 1900’s
you know we don’t see a lot of this today because we have a lot better
environmental legislation, but people were, there was a lot of wanting killing of
both game birds and migratory birds. There weren’t a lot of regulations, so people
were killing birds for food, sport and feathers. And if you remember well, you can see
some of this stuff on the internet. People used to make these extravagant hats with
bird feathers and sometimes whole birds on them. So in the late 1800’s the Audubon Society
was born and then they applied pressure and eventually in 1916 the first treaty
with Canada was established between the U.S. and Canada to protect our
birds that we have in common. So the Migratory Bird Treaty
Act as we know it was actually in 1918, but it helped stopped this. It was a really valuable piece of legislation
for conservation of migratory birds and we continue to use it today to try
to reduce the effects that people have and their activities on migratory birds.>>We’ve got a couple questions here. What kind of equipment do I need to go birding?>>Well you really just need you know your
own two feet and a pair of binoculars is good, but I almost forgot my actually, I
did forget my binoculars this morning. Anna save me and brought me some,
but you don’t even need binoculars. You can bird with your ears really well. I mean sometimes birds are at the top of a
tree or behind a leaf or kind of far away. You can still hear those birds
even though you can’t see them. So if you’re keeping a list,
you can tick those birds off like I heard a Western wood pewee,
I heard a Anna’s hummingbird. You don’t have to actually have to see them.>>I’m going to take a little view
of what you guys are seeing here.>>Yeah it’s beautiful out here. We’re actually standing on the edge of a
restoration area that we just walked past a sign up there and they’re going
to burn this in the fall. So in a lot of places they have to burn
fields and conservation areas in order to keep the weeds down and to keep it a prairie. And this is a really nice example
of native Oregon white oak prairie and there’s certain types of birds that like it. I was hoping we’d hear a white breasted
nuthatch, but I haven’t heard one yet. They really like the Oregon white oaks.>>We have someone commenting
buy Federal duck stamps.>>Yes Federal duck stamps actually help protect
land and wetland habitat and other habitats. And they don’t, it’s not just
for ducks, it’s for all birds so.>>Awesome, awesome well is it easy for people
especially in urban areas and in cities to come out and enjoy wildlife near them?>>Yeah I mean that’s one thing
that we always tell people. I work for the Office of
Migratory Birds in Portland, Oregon and people often ask
us about migratory birds. And one of the things we say is that you can
see birds everywhere, birds are everywhere. The only place you can’t see them is really the
bottom of the ocean, which actually isn’t true because you can see seabirds down there. And you know on the moon there aren’t any
birds, but everywhere on earth there are birds. So you can walk out your front door and
hear a bird in the tree in your front yard. And I’ve seen some of the
coolest birds in my front yard. So you can really bird anywhere. It’s really very easy and a place
like this is pretty near to Portland. And it’s a good place to come out you
know on a weekday or if you don’t want to drive very far, it’s really beautiful. There’s several miles of trails
here and it’s a really good example of a beautiful conservation area.>>Any hashtags people should use when
they’re out birding to let us know that they’ve gone on a bird watch?>>Well we have a good one. Correct me if I say this wrong Rylan. This is more your realm than mine, but
hashtag I bird because is a really good one.>>Indeed.>>And then there’s a more specific one
related to the centennial isn’t there Rylan?>>Mhmm, so we’ve got a year-long campaign
called I bird because and that is tied in with a effort that we’re doing on social
media and those are hundred bird walks. And because we’re celebrating 100 years of bird
conversation, we thought let’s introduce people to the wonderful world of birding
and getting a chance for people to explore basically you know
their backyards and their states. So what we’ve done is with the
wonderful help of biologist like Roberta and other field biologist throughout
our region, which is a huge amount of space covering you know the Pacific Northwest
and Hawaii and the outer lying Pacific Islands. So there’s so much diversity there, so we’ve cobbled [phonetic]
together a list of a 100 bird walks. So 100 places to see just the variety
of birds throughout our region from you know high desert Sage Brush Step
to your wetlands in the Willamette Valley to your Puget Sound birds to your
Upland tropical forest birds in Hawaii. So that is, there’s so much to see and
so we’ve got that 100 Bird Walks campaign that you can find on our
Facebook page if you type in 100 bird walks into the Facebook search bar. You can find a lot of our content there. But as Roberta was saying we’ve
also got a bird year campaign, which is basically pulling
together all the success stories and all the stories throughout the country
and our nation regarding the centennial. And the celebrations that we’ve got
going on this week specifically. So throughout the year and this
week kind of in particular, it’s you know birds are the highlight
and the focus of what we’re doing. And so I’d encourage you to check it out. It’s really exciting stuff.>>Well thank you both.

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