The Stanton Bird Club in partnership with Auburn Public Library is joining nature lovers around the world to celebrate the International Year of the Bird. At the same time, we will begin a year-long celebration of Stanton’s Centennial starting in June.
It is not a coincidence that the International Year of the Bird celebration and the Stanton Centennial celebration are happening at the same time. The International Year of the Bird marks the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which has been called the most powerful bird protection law ever passed. By the early 1900s, the United States saw the extinction of several species of birds, including the Heath hen, the Carolina parakeet and the Passenger pigeon, once the most numerous bird on the continent. Most of these birds were hunted for food, but in the late 1800s, birds faced a new threat: fashion. As Smithsonian Magazine reported in 2013, some 50 North American bird species, including snowy egrets and great blue herons were being hunted for their plumes, which were added to fashionable women’s hats. The market hunting of feathers wiped out entire colonies of birds, especially in Florida, leading to calls for regulation. It was a major factor in the establishment of the Migratory Bird Act Treaty in 1918—initially the American end of a songbird treaty with Great Britain on behalf of Canada, which forbade the killing of many native birds, disturbing any egg or nest or capturing and transporting birds over state lines. This national interest in the fate of birds was experienced locally as well and an ornithologist from Connecticut was invited to speak in Auburn in September 1918. While on stage he challenged community members to start a bird club stating he would not leave the stage until the group agreed to do this. By February 1919 the Club was organized and its first officers elected. To kick off this year of celebration we are hosting a Wildflower Festival on June 3rd. We will also be working with the Auburn Library to provide a number of activities as we celebrate the International Year of the Bird. Stay tuned for more details.