The California Migratory Bird Protection Act Will Save Hundreds of Species from Big Oil


In Defense of Animals is thrilled to welcome news that the California Migratory Bird Protection Act (AB 454) has been signed into law by California’s Governor Newsom.

AB 454 was introduced by Assemblymember Ash Kalra to protect thousands of species of migratory birds, who travel to and from California’s wetlands and forests via the Pacific Flyway. This bill will close a loophole in current state law, which could be interpreted to defer the management of the state’s migratory birds to the federal government. 

Snowy egrets are among the migratory birds who spend time in California, now protected by this new law. Image credit Allan Hack, CC BY-SA 2.0.

“We thank the California State Legislature for supporting this crucial bill, along with the compassionate residents who have spoken out to protect the migratory birds who travel to and from our great state’s unique habitats every year,” says Fleur Dawes, Communications Director for In Defense of Animals.

The Trump administration is working to weaken the long-standing Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)—a federal bill that has protected migratory birds throughout the country for over 100 years—to allow the mass killing of protected bird species without consequence. With the administration’s approval of offshore drilling off of the coast of California and other parts of the country, the incidental killing of over 1,000 species of migratory birds was all but certain. 

Past oil spills, such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, killed millions of birds and obliterated marine habitats. For this violation of the MBTA, BP Oil was fined $100 million. The intentional weakening of the MBTA by the federal government aims to eliminate these fines, therefore facilitating the destruction of habitats and the mass killing of migratory birds.

Swainson’s hawk in flight over California. Image credit California Department of Fish and Wildlife, CC BY-SA 2.0.

In Defense of Animals delivered thousands of signatures from constituents in support of AB 454 to the California State Senate and Governor Gavin Newsom to urge decision-makers to protect migratory birds from Big Oil and other destructive industries. 

With the passing of this bill, California is authorized to manage and protect migratory nongame bird species, including their nests and eggs. These species include doves, ducks, eagles, finches, geese, gulls, hawks, hummingbirds, robins, sparrows, warblers, and many more.

Featured image: an Allen’s hummingbird, seen in Santa Cruz, California. Image credit Julio Mulero, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 valued supporters and a 30-year history of protecting animals, people and the environment through education, campaigns and hands on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi. Our main headquarters are established in San Rafael, California. Click to see author's profile.

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