Who We Are
Peregrine Falcon, juvenile. Credit: USFWS.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has the primary responsibility for administration of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918; MBTA), the Bald & Gold Eagle Protection Act (1940; BGEPA), and their amendments, and enacting regulations. All migratory birds are listed as “trust species” and are protected under MBTA, and Bald and Golden Eagles have additional protections under BGEPA. Within USFWS, the Migratory Bird Program has the lead on maintaining healthy migratory bird populations for the American people and future generations. Each USFWS Region has Regional Migratory Bird Program office, to focus on regional and national issues affecting migratory birds.
What We Do
In the Mountain-Prairie Region of USFWS, the Migratory Bird Program provides leadership in the conservation of migratory birds through:
- Partnerships: to conserve priority bird habitats , design &/or conduct priority survey and monitoring projects (e.g., Central Flyway Duck Banding, Western Colonial Waterbird Atlas ), and address factors limiting bird populations (e.g., U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan, Partners In Flight Western Working Group);
- Science: to conduct status assessments (e.g., Trumpeter Swan), develop conservation plans (e.g., Sprague’s Pipit), and facilitate research on priority species &/or habitats;
- Planning: to identify opportunities to avoid and minimize risk factors to bird populations and develop tools to assist conservation delivery; and,
- Permitting: to regulate and authorize certain activities related to migratory birds & conducted by qualified applicants.
Given the vast expanse of the Mountain-Prairie Region, the diversity of habitats, and the tremendous migratory bird resources that breed, migrate through, and winter here, our Program focuses efforts on regional priority species and habitat conservation. Our priority list of birds consists of species that are typically declining, have small population sizes overall, rely heavily on our region during part of their annual life cycle, or are part of a group of species of special interest (e.g., waterfowl, grassland songbirds). All of our regional priorities emanate from partnership input, and stem from national/international population assessments (e.g., Saving our Shared Birds, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan), monitoring trends from the Breeding Bird Survey, and other guiding documents (e.g., USFWS Birds of Conservation Concern, 2008).
For more information on some of the laws, issues, ornithology, and programs mentioned above, or to participate in bird monitoring programs near you, please visit the following sites:
The 8 State fish & wildlife agencies within the Mountain-Prairie Region and U.S. Geological Survey's Biological Resources Division are major partners in our bird conservation efforts. The Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown, North Dakota has an informative web site with a wealth of information on many species in the Mountain-Prairie Region.
Biological Technical Publications
Bird Banding Lab: Bird banding is a major tool used to assess bird populations and trends. These data are important for setting hunting regulations for waterfowl and other game species, and also can help assess nongame bird trends and migratory pathways.
Birds of North America: The natural history accounts for all avian species in North America are published online (requires an account).
Breeding Bird Survey: A North American effort to monitor avian species, which provides us the best data on the status of trust species.
Checklist of North American Birds
Christmas Bird Count: a volunteer effort to document the presence and ranges of wintering species.
Electronic Resource in Ornithology
Joint Ventures: national program and compilation website
Partners In Flight (International “parent” partnership to the Western Working Group)
For more information, contact:
For the Migratory Birds Permit Office, call 303-236-8171