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History of the Urban Bird Treaty

History of the Urban Bird Treaty

What is the Urban Bird Treaty?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) created the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds program (Urban Bird Treaty or UBT) to support partnerships of local, state, and federal government agencies, non-profit organizations, corporations, and local communities in conserving birds that live in and migrate through urban areas. The program has the dual focus of carrying out bird conservation while educating and engaging local communities in caring about and conserving birds and habitats in their neighborhoods and cities. The USFWS launched the UBT program in 1999 and signed the first two treaties with New Orleans and Chicago. The treaty is a partnership agreement between a U.S. city and the Service that promotes the benefits of urban bird conservation to the city and its communities and expresses the city’s support for helping achieve the goals of the UBT program.

Read about the Urban Bird Treaty cities.

Why Nashville?

Nashville has joined other cities across the country to create bird-friendly environments and provide people with opportunities to connect with nature through bird-related activities as part of the Urban Bird Treaty program. This program is a unique, collaborative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and participating U.S. cities to make cities healthier places for both birds and people. Launched in 1999, the first treaty was signed with New Orleans and the second with Chicago in 2000. Since that time, an additional 29 cities have become Urban Bird Treaty cities, for a total of 31 spanning from Alaska to Alabama.

The Treaty designation, hosted on World Migratory Bird Day (May 11th 2023), was a product of the collaborative efforts of several core group partners, including the Mayor’s Office, Nashville Parks and Recreation, The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Friends of Warner Parks, and Bird Safe Nashville. In addition to the core group partners, over 60 other organizations participated in developing specific action items and have committed to these actions to increase awareness of the city’s birds and habitats and how essential they are to the welfare of Nashville’s residents and visitors.

Laura and the kids.

Why Birds?

Birds are a valuable resource, contributing aesthetically, culturally, scientifically, recreationally, and economically to America’s communities. They provide important ecosystem services such as pollination, seed dispersal, and pest control, while also serving as indicators of environmental health. Additionally, birds offer opportunities for outdoor recreation and contribute significantly to nature-based tourism, promoting both physical and mental well-being. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, more than 45 million people watch birds around their homes and away from home, contributing nearly $80 billion to the U.S. economy through wildlife-related recreation.

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