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Changes to Migratory Bird Act put many birds at risk

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — A change has come to the over 100 years old “Migratory Bird Act” that lessens restrictions that could have a severe impact on migratory birds.

The Migratory Bird Act was enacted in 1918, its goal was to protect wildlife and reduce deaths.

The appointees from the Trump administration are rolling back on penalties that protect the animals. Saying the act penalized companies that kill birds accidentally.

The Rio Grande Valley is a hotspot for birdwatchers and those changes could be felt.

“It was the intention that prompted the enactment of the law the problem now it’s not intentional it’s unintentional,” said Jim Chapman, president of Friends of The Wildlife and worker at Frontera Audubon Society.

South Texas acts as a funnel where a variety of species of birds can be seen.

“Talk to any wildlife or bird biologist in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or Texas parks and wildlife or in academics, they will tell you that this is basically a terrible move,” he said. “The Valley’s subtropical location also has a lot of permeant birds that you don’t find further up north.”

Conservationists fear this change will have a deadly impact on an already dwindling species.

“This is going to be one more factor pushing bird numbers down and we’re not going to see it. It’s going to be some numbers we’re going to look at over the years,” he said.

Recent studies from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports over 7 billion birds are killed in North America annually, bringing economic impacts to birdwatching spots across the world.

“We’ll bird decline. We aren’t going to see the effects overnight. It’s more by death by a thousand cuts,” he said.

Many are hoping the Biden administration will reverse the roll back.

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