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Bye, Bye Birdies?


A century ago, after several bird species were hunted to extinction, the United States outlawed the killing and sale of migratory birds, their feathers and their eggs.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was one of the nation’s first environmental laws. But now, the administration has limited its enforcement, declaring that violations have to be intentional, thereby excusing any accidental killings of birds.

“This is a new, contrived legal standard that creates a huge loophole in the MBTA, allowing companies to engage in activities that routinely kill migratory birds,” officials from previous administrations wrote in a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

A number of organizations have declared 2018 The Year of the Bird, but how many feathered friends will be around to celebrate?


Jonathan Franzen, Author of five novels, including “Purity,” “Freedom” and “The Corrections,” and five works of nonfiction and translation; writer of National Geographic’s January cover story: Why Birds Matter;

Hannah Nevins, Seabird program director, American Bird Conservancy; @seabird_nerd

J. Drew Lanham, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Clemson University; board chair, Audubon South Carolina; author of “The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature;” @1blackbirder

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