Urban Bird Treaty

Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds logo. Credit: USFWS

A program working with cities and partners to conserve migratory birds through education, hazard reductions, citizen science, conservation actions, and conservation and habitat improvement strategies in urban/suburban areas.


Urban bird treaty city map

Albuquerque, NM Anchorage, AK
Chicago, IL Denver, CO
 Hartford, CT  Houston, TX
 Indianapolis, IN  Kennedale, TX
Lewistown, MT  Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN
Nashville, TN  New Haven, CT
New Orleans, LA New York City, NY
Ogden, UT Opelika, AL
Philadelphia, PA Phoenix, AZ
Portland, OR San Francisco, CA
St. Louis, MO Washington DC

The Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds (Urban Bird Treaty) program was created to help municipal governments conserve birds that live and nest in or overwinter or migrate through their cities. Launched in 1999, the first treaty was signed with New Orleans, and the second treaty was signed with Chicago.

The Urban Bird Treaty programis a unique, collaborative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and participating U.S. cities bringing together private citizens, Federal, State, and municipal agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Cities can become effective sanctuaries for birds and other wildlife, with an environmentally aware citizenry dedicated to conserving and enhancing natural resources. This is not only good for the birds, but also for the quality of life of people living in and visiting our cities. By restoring and conserving green-space, Urban Bird Treaty cities enhance urban areas for migratory birds that nest, overwinter, or pass through municipal and urban/suburban neighborhoods as well as for citizens. The Urban Bird Treaty program has an emphasis on education and outreach programs and includes resources for constructing schoolyard habitat sites, creating backyard habitats, and resources for educating citizens about birds and their conservation in an urban environment. Key features of the program also includes suggestions for reducing hazards to birds during migration; restoring, enhancing, and protecting avian habitats; providing education and outreach opportunities in urban and suburban communities; monitoring bird populations when appropriate; and creating and building career awareness and career development opportunities for young people.

Because birds are widely considered indicators of the health of our environment, it is a good way to engage people in better understanding their environment and hopefully take action to keep it healthy and safe for birds (and for people.)

Urban Landscape. Credit: USFWS

Urban Bird Treaty Program Component Goals

  • Protect, restore, and enhance urban/suburban habitats for birds
  • Reduce hazards to birds
  • Educate and engage citizens in monitoring, caring about, and advocating for birds and their conservation
  • Foster youth environmental education with a focus on birds
  • Manage invasive species to benefit and protect birds
  • Increase awareness of the value of migratory birds and their habitats, especially for their intrinsic, ecological, recreational, and economic significance

Urban Bird Treaty Resources

 Urban Bird Treaty Resource Book V2 (8.3MB)

 Webinar Series - Basic Bird ID and Organizing an International Migratory Bird Day Festival

 Window Collision Prevention InformationSheet (286.3KB)

 USFWS Schoolyard Project Guide (8MB)

 Birdwatching with Kids (and families) - CBC4Kids (4.9MB)

 Reducing Bird Collisions with Buildings and Building Glass (1.8MB)

Last Updated: June 9, 2016