Celebrating 100 Years of Bird Conservation

The USFWS logo next to the migratory bird treaty centennial logo

Just thirteen years after Teddy Roosevelt set aside Pelican Island as the first National Wildlife Refuge, on August 16, 1916, the United States signed a treaty with Canada—the very first of its kind—to protect our shared migratory birds from overconsumption.

The refuge system and the modern conservation movement were in their infancy. This treaty helped set the foundation for future treaties and laws to help conserve migratory birds. The treaty also set the stage for the creation of the Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency nation’s trust resources.

One hundred years later, our treaty agreements to protect and manage shared bird species continue to provide the foundation for bird conservation throughout the Service and the conservation community.

Why Do Migratory Birds Matter?

A small, bright yellow bird perched on a tree branch

A prothonotary warbler, photo by USFWS.

Birds connect people with nature, adding beauty, sound, and color to our world. They provide countless opportunities for enjoyment by birders, hunters, and outdoor enthusiasts and have cultural and spiritual importance.

Studying birds can give us a picture of what is going on in the world because they are good indicators of environmental health. Visible and relatively easy to study, birds also contribute to the health of our environment by pollinating plants, eating insects and rodents, and dispersing seeds.

Birds also play a key role in contributing to the U.S. economy, supporting recreational opportunities that create jobs and generate billions of dollars in revenue.

Let’s Tweet!

Talk to us about why birds matter to you and how you enjoy them. Tag us in photos you’ve taken of birds, and we might retweet you! Tweet with us @USFWSSoutheast on Twitter, or join us on Facebook.

You can also use the hashtag #BirdYear on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to share your stories with the world. Nationwide we’ll be talking about birds 247 on our account, @USFWSBirds.

National Bird Festivals in 2016 Near National Wildlife Refuges

Check out a list of bird festivals near refuges compiled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

2016 Bird Event Calendar: Southeast Region

Alabama

January
Festival of the Cranes, January 9 - 10

October
Alabama Coastal Birding Festival, 105-10/8/16

December
Audubon Christmas Bird Counts (typically the end of December)

Arkansas

January
Eagle Awareness Weekends at Bull Shoals White River State Park, 18 - 19

Eagles Etcetera Event, Lake DeGray State Park, January 29 - 31

Eagle Watch Tours, Lake Ouachita State Park, every weekend through mid-March

February
Eagle Watch Tours, Lake Ouachita State Park every weekend through mid-March

November
Wings Over the Prairie Duck Festival

December
Audubon Christmas Bird Counts (typically the end of December)

Florida

January
Everglades Birding Festival, January 14 - 18

Southwest Florida Nature Festival, January 15 - 17

Space Coast Birding Festival, January 20 - 25

February
Birds of a Feather Festival, February 5 - 7

Raptor Fest, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, February 6

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Heritage Outdoors Festival, February 6

Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival and Birdapalooza, February 6

Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge 17th Annual Everglades Day, February 20, 8:00 am-4:00pm

Orlando Wetlands Festival, February 20

Burrowing Owl Festival, February 27

March
Big O Birding Festival, March 11 - 16

Pelican Island Wildlife Festival, March 12

Nature Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival, TBD

April
Wakulla Wildlife Festival, April 16

Florida Birding and Photo Festival, April 27 - May 1

September
Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival

October
Wings and Wildflowers Festival

Fairchild Tropical Gardens Birding Festival

Ding Darling Days

November
Owl Fest, Avian Reconditioning Center, November 12, 2016

December
Audubon Christmas Bird Counts (typically the end of December)

Georgia

January
Georgia Ornithological Society Meeting, TBD

February
Wings Over the Swamp Wildlife Festival (2nd weekend annually)

April
Fall birding Little Saint Simons Island (private fee-based tours) April 22 - 28, 2016

May
Coastal Georgia Birding, various field trips and events

December
Audubon Christmas Bird Counts (typically the end of December)

Kentucky

April
Ohio Valley Birding Festival, last dates: April 24 - 26, 2016

May
Bluegrass Birding Festival, last dates May 9 - 10, 2016

Migratory Bird Day Salato Wildlife Education Center, TBD 2016

December
Audubon Christmas Bird Counts (typically the end of December)

Louisiana

January
Baton Rouge Audubon Winter Hummingbird Tour date TBD

April
Bayou Teche Black Bear and Birding Festival, last dates: April 17 - 19, 2016

Great Louisiana Birding Festival, North Lake Nature Center, April 15 - 17, 2016

Grand Isle Birding Festival, April 15 - 17

October
Audubon’s Yellow Rails and Rice Festival

December
Audubon Christmas Bird Counts (typically the end of December)

Mississippi

May
Tara Spring Birding Weekend (private fee-based tours), May 6 - 8, 2016

December
Audubon Christmas Bird Counts (typically the end of December)

North Carolina

October
Wings Over Water

December
Audubon Christmas Bird Counts (typically the end of December)

South Carolina

February
Southeastern Wildlife Expo, February 12 - 14

December
Audubon Christmas Bird Counts (typically the end of December)

Tennessee

January
Eagle Tours, Reelfoot Lake

February
Eagle Festival & Tours Reelfoot Lake, February 5- 7

Audubon Great Backyard Bird Count, February 12 - 14

June
Hatchie BirdFest, June 3 - 6, 2016

December
Audubon Christmas Bird Counts (typically the end of December)