Yellow-breasted Chat is one of hundreds of migratory species that will benefit from new legislation. Photo: American Bird Conservancy, Barth Schorre
I received this press release today from the American Bird Conservancy about efforts in Congress to support bird conservation. Please urge your senators and representative to reauthorize the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act. — M.M.
(Washington, D.C. – September 17, 2008) Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), George Voinovich (R-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have introduced bipartisan legislation to boost funding for the conservation of migratory birds. The Senate bill, S. 3490, reauthorizes the existing Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA), but at significantly higher levels, to meet the growing needs of our migrants, many of which are in rapid decline. Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) have introduced similar bipartisan legislation, H.R. 5756, in the House of Representatives.
Of the 178 continental bird species included on the American Bird Conservancy/Audubon WatchList of birds of highest conservation concern, over one-third, 71 species, are Neotropical migrants. The populations of an estimated 127 species of migratory birds are in persistent decline, and 60 species have experienced significant population declines greater than 45% over the last 40 years. Several species, including the Cerulean Warbler and Olive-sided Flycatcher, have declined as much as 70% since surveys began in the 1960s.
“This legislation is urgently needed to prevent America’s native birds from disappearing,” said Darin Schroeder, American Bird Conservancy’s Vice President of Conservation Advocacy. “Nearly half of our songbird population is now in decline or facing serious threats; effective conservation projects can help us to start turning that around.”
Saving Migratory Birds for Future Generations: The Success of the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, a new report by American Bird Conservancy, details the disturbing downward trend in the populations of many migratory species and its causes, and documents the effectiveness of NMBCA. American Bird Conservancy and the Bird Conservation Alliance, a broad network of bird clubs, science and conservation organizations, have launched the Act for Songbirds campaign, to support reauthorizing the legislation and boosting funding levels each year. Citizens are being encouraged to contact their Representative and Senators in support of the legislation at www.abcbirds.org/action.