Press Release

wings over the capital: Washington, D.c., officially designated as urban bird treaty city

Jerome Ford (right), the Service's Assistant Director for Migratory Birds, joined Director Tommy Wells of the Washington, D.C., Department of Energy and Environment, and Earth Conservation Corps Director Brenda Lee Richardson in signing the Urban Bird TreatyThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today joined Washington, D.C., officials and conservation organizations to officially designate the city as an Urban Bird Treaty City.

On May 13, Jerome Ford (above right), the Service's Assistant Director for Migratory Birds, joined Director Tommy Wells of the Washington, D.C.,  Department of Energy and Environment, and Earth Conservation Corps Director Brenda Lee Richardson in signing a treaty that makes Washington one of the 26 Urban Bird Treaty cities in the U.S, who have pledged to work with partners to conserve migratory birds through education and outreach, hazard reduction, citizen science, bird surveys and monitoring, and habitat conservation in urban and suburban areas.

"We are celebrating a great step forward in our collective efforts to connect people with nature and protect migratory birds in Washington, D.C., and I thank everyone who has made the Urban Bird Treaty a success here," said Ford. "We are also celebrating the Centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty with Canada, signed in 1916. The century of conservation achievements this international treaty has fostered—including the Urban Bird Treaty Program and International Migratory Bird Day—speak to the power of partnerships to lift migratory bird conservation to new heights."

In 2015, the  Earth Conservation Corps received a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's  Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program. These funds catalyzed a growing partnership, among  Environment for the Americas,  D.C. Audubon,  Brent Elementary School,  Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center,  City Wilderness project, and  Anacostia Watershed Society.

Using grant and matching funds, these partners are working to engage the community and expand Anacostia River's degraded wetlands with native plants; protect 8,500 feet of the river's natural shoreline; train young people on important workforce development through water quality sampling; create habitat through the chimney swift program; and engage youth as citizen scientists in the bald eagle tracking program and wood duck nest box monitoring.

Since 2012, Washington, D.C. has had an active urban bird conservation program. Activities have involved helping local schools to grow more than 2,000 plants to restore wetlands along the Anacostia River; engage more than 1,500 students in meaningful environmental experiences; work with building owners and managers to turn off lights during migration; sponsor a large celebration for migratory bird day in  Rock Creek Park; create a Migratory Bird Club and bird habitat at  Stanton Elementary; conduct trash clean ups in important migratory pathways; and successfully place 2 transmitters on osprey to track fishing patterns in DC and their migratory routes. Additional partners on these projects included  People.Animals.Loveand  City Wildlife.

This year we mark the centennial of the  Convention between the United States and Great Britain (for Canada) for the Protection of Migratory Birds ( bytes) - also called the Migratory Bird Treaty - that was signed on Aug. 16, 1916. This Migratory Bird Treaty, and three others that followed, form the cornerstones of our efforts to conserve birds that migrate across international borders.

The treaty connects the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with our federal, state, private, non-government, tribal, and international partners who share a long, successful history of conserving, protecting, and managing migratory bird populations and their habitats. Celebrating the centennial of the first treaty allows us to bring together those who have contributed to its success, and to galvanize efforts to protect migratory birds for generations to come.

The goals for the Centennial celebration are to create awareness, promote key actions, increase support, and expand opportunities for engagement in the conservation of migratory birds. Located along the Atlantic Flyway, the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area provides important habitat for migratory birds as well as natural areas for people to enjoy. With 80 percent of the American population living in urban communities, birds represent many people's sole connection to wildlife and nature, which has profound implications for the future – for our children's health, and for the open spaces they'll one day be tasked with conserving and protecting. Photo by Dan Rausch/DCDOEE

About the Urban Bird Treaty Program

About the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial

Last Updated: May 16, 2016