Biden Administration Reverses Rollback of Migratory Bird Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Biden administration has taken an important step in protecting bird species by scrapping a controversial legal opinion that gutted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act’s protections for hundreds of species of migratory birds. The Interior Department is expected to soon issue a new proposal to revoke the rule based on that interpretation – which was ruled illegal by a court in a lawsuit brought by the National Wildlife Federation and other organizations.

“This bedrock law was designed to protect North America’s birds — whose populations have declined by 3 billion since 1970 — from harm, whether intentional or not,” said Mike Leahy, director of wildlife, hunting and fishing policy at the National Wildlife Federation. “We are extremely grateful to the Biden administration for righting this historic wrong and returning protections to America’s migratory birds. It is vital we safeguard these species and authorize a common-sense permitting approach to avoid further declines so that we may experience birds like whooping cranes and canvasback ducks for generations to come.”

Last week, the National Wildlife Federation and 29 of its state and territorial affiliates submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service thanking them for delaying implementation of the controversial rule, and asking the administration to move forward with a new rulemaking process.

Contact: Anna Vecchio, National Wildlife Federation,, 202-797-6662