In 2016, we celebrated a big year for bird conservation with the Centennial of the first Migratory Bird Treaty.

The first Migratory Bird Treaty – signed by the United States and Canada at a time when no regulations existed to protect our shared migratory bird species – laid the foundation for many important conservation efforts. It also laid the groundwork for coalitions like NABCI to step into the forefront of bird conservation by joining partners from the U.S., Canada and Mexico in a common cause.

Throughout 2016, we celebrated the Migratory Bird Treaty with events, social media campaigns and other activities, but make no mistake about it – this was more than simply a celebration. The Centennial goals were to raise awareness of the importance of bird conservation; increase support for all bird conservation efforts; encourage the American public to take action for birds; and increase opportunities for people of all ages to participate in bird conservation through citizen science and wildlife related recreation.

Through hundreds of special events, social media campaigns, news media articles and other activities, the Fish and Wildlife Service and our partners engaged with citizens of all ages and backgrounds. We formed innovative partnerships with zoos and connected with hundreds of visitors.  We helped to elevate the Centennial to the highest levels of governments by providing information and talking points for meetings among the U.S. and Mexican presidents and the Canadian prime minister. The conservation leaders of all three nations signed a letter pledging to continue our long-standing cooperation to protect migratory birds.

Clearly, 2016 was a significant year for those of us dedicated to conserving birds and the habitats on which they depend.  But the focus on international bird conservation doesn’t end here. In December 2016, we capped off the Centennial year by rolling out a vision for the next 100 years of bird conservation. A product of the U.S. and Canadian governments and the U.S. NABCI committee, this vision calls for collaborating across the public and private sectors; engaging with people and communities; and expanding our efforts throughout the Western Hemisphere to ensure we are focusing resources to protect birds through their full-life cycles.

We invite the entire bird conservation community to join in envisioning the future of bird conservation. We are the “brain trust” that is positioned to move conservation forward – to understand and anticipate the new and emerging challenges we face and to meet them head on. You can find the vision for the future of bird conservation here: Together, we can shape the next 100 years of bird conservation.