The Scarlet Tanager is just one of 386 migratory bird species that will benefit from passage of the Natural Resources Management Act. Photo by Dan Behm
(Washington, DC, February 25, 2019) Passage of the Natural Resources Management Act (S. 47), expected tomorrow in the U.S. House of Representatives, will signify a bipartisan win for birds and people, and a step in the right direction toward advancing wildlife conservation and recreation initiatives. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 98-2.
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) strongly believes that passing this bill is essential to achieving our nation’s conservation goals, which support our environment and our economy, through bird-related recreation totaling billions of dollars annually.
The bill includes permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which supports the protection of federal public lands and waters. It also designates wilderness areas, monuments, and other public lands that will help conserve habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Birds will also benefit from the bill’s reauthorization of the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA), which provides direct conservation support for 386 bird species and their habitats in Central and South America, where many birds winter. The Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, and Cerulean Warbler are just a few examples of bird species that benefit from the NMBCA.
“Thanks to NMBCA funding, we have created a network of reserves to provide essential wintering habitat,” said Andrew Rothman, ABC’s Migratory Bird Program Director. “The NMBCA is one of very few sources of funding available to help protect the full life cycle of migratory birds in the Western Hemisphere. These species engage in one of the greatest animal migrations on the planet. NMBCA is the lifeline for our migratory birds.”
Since 2002, the NMBCA has supported 570 conservation projects — including habitat protection, monitoring, research, and education — on more than 4.5 million acres of critical bird habitat across 36 countries.
The 2016 State of the Birds Report found that over one-third of North America’s bird species are in decline or facing serious threats.
“This decline signals a broader crisis that Congress has now, through its support of the Natural Resources Management Act, acted upon to help reverse,” said Jennifer Cipolletti, Director of Conservation Advocacy for ABC. “Birds are sensitive indicators of how we are protecting our environment as a whole, so this is an important step and a big win, not only for birds, but for the economy as well.”
American Bird Conservancy applauds the broad bipartisan support for public lands and migratory birds in Congress and across a diverse coalition of conservation and recreation interests. Thanks to this support, the Natural Resources Management Act will preserve vital conservation funding for the country’s birds and the critical habitats they depend upon.
American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.org, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@abcbirds).
U.S. Senate to Consider Issue for the First Time
(Washington, D.C., Oct. 6, 2017) The U.S. Senate will have an opportunity to act to make all new federal buildings safer for birds. This week, Sen. Cory A. Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act (S. 1920) — the first time such a bill has been proposed in the Senate. A version of the legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA).
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) thanks Sen. Booker and Reps. Quigley and Griffith for encouraging the federal government to lead by example in addressing one of the biggest human-caused threats to birds. As many as a billion birds a year are killed in the United States when they collide with glass on all kind of structures, from skyscrapers and office buildings to homes and bus shelters.
Many existing federal buildings already feature bird-friendly design. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill call for the General Services Administration to require new federal buildings to incorporate bird-safe building materials and design features.
“While this legislation is limited to federal buildings, it’s a very good start that could lead to more widespread applications of bird-friendly designs elsewhere,” said Christine Sheppard, Director of ABC’s Glass Collisions Program.
“Now is the time to proactively avoid continued impacts to bird populations from building strikes, which only compounds losses from other threats such as habitat loss and climate change,” said Eric Stiles, President and Chief Executive Officer of New Jersey Audubon. “We applaud Cory Booker for introducing the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act.”
Many species of birds fall victim to collisions. The species most commonly reported as building kills in the United States include White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Ovenbird, and Song Sparrow. Several other species of national conservation concern suffer disproportionate casualties, including Painted Bunting, Canada Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Canada Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, and Wood Thrush. Learn more about bird collisions and bird-friendly building design here.
(Photo: Wood Thrush by Ryan Sanderson)
American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.
Legislation would criminalize attendance at animal fights
NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the U.S. Senate for passing the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act as part of the Farm Bill (Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 – S. 954). This provision would make attending an animal fight a federal offense and impose additional penalties for bringing a child to an animal fight.
“Animal fighting is a brutal form of abuse where animals are exploited and forced to fight as their owners profit from their torture,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Children need protection from the dangerous culture of animal fighting, as well as its associated illegal activities such as drugs, weapons and gambling. The ASPCA applauds the Senate for passing this measure as part of its Farm Bill, thereby strengthening laws to combat animal fighting and protect public safety.”
Spectators at animal fights are not there accidentally—they intentionally seek out the criminal activity at secret locations for the entertainment of watching two animals fight to the death and the opportunity to gamble on the barbaric event. When animal fighting operations are raided, it is a common practice for the organizers, promoters and animal owners to blend into the crowd of spectators in order to escape law enforcement. The Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act would discourage individuals from enabling animal fights via their illegal wagers and admission fees, and will ensure that organizers cannot easily hide in the crowd when law enforcement officials arrive.
The Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act (S. 666) was introduced as standalone legislation in April by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and David Vitter (R-La.) in order to strengthen laws against animal fighting. It was subsequently added to the Senate’s Farm Bill.
The House version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 1947), which contains similar language pertaining to animal fighting laws, is expected to be voted on later this summer. For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to tackle animal fighting and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.