First, my latest and final new release for 2021 is out! It's Songbird ReMix Hummingbirds v3 and includes some of the most beautiful hummingbirds found in the Americas.
I'm still chugging through updates, and am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. With any luck, by my annual Audubon's Birthday Sale, I should be close to the completion of the Songbird ReMix set updates, and hopefully by the end of 2022, everything else updated.
What's on tap next:
Seabirds v1 and 2, Pelicans and Puffins
by Erik Schneider, Audubon Policy Manager
The most significant and damaging rollback of bird protections in our history is finally, officially, gone. This month, the Biden administration’s repeal of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) rollback went into effect, and critical bird protections returned for the first time in nearly four years. At the same time, a crucial agency process took a key step forward that could provide stronger and improved MBTA rules to conserve declining bird populations and keep our common birds common.
Four years ago, on December 22, 2017, the Interior Department issued a legal opinion that instantly gutted the law and eliminated longstanding protections for birds. That MBTA policy, and the January 2021 regulation that doubled down on it, gave a free pass for bird deaths caused by industrial activities – often referred to as “incidental take”. It meant that companies no longer needed to take reasonable actions that minimize bird deaths, such as covering up oil pits or marking power lines to avoid collisions. Over the past four years, harm to birds from oil spills and other hazards went uninvestigated and without accountability.
Audubon and our partners fought the rollback of these longstanding protections every step of the way, including by going to court. We won a major victory last year when a federal court found the 2017 MBTA attack to be illegal. We worked with members and partners to highlight the widespread public opposition, including from more than 400,000 letters, and from hundreds of Audubon chapters and other organizations. State wildlife agencies, tribal governments, and our migratory bird treaty partner, Canada, expressed deep concerns. Earlier this year, the Biden administration began to reconsider the January 2021 rule, leading to an announcement of its repeal in September, which has now gone into effect.