On February 28, 2008 the National Audubon Society issued an Action Alert to request that individuals contact their U.S. House Representatives to co-sponsor HR 4093, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act Penalty and Enforcement Act of 2007 to ensure raptors and other migratory birds are given adequate protection. Here is an excerpt from the Audubon’s Action Alert:
Dear Audubon Advocate,
Last spring, citizens across the country were appalled to learn that thousands of protected raptors such as Cooper’s Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, and Red-tailed Hawks had been killed in Oregon, California and Texas.
The raptors were killed by hobbyists who breed pigeons to carry a genetic trait that causes them to stop flying and tumble in the air before righting themselves and carrying on. These “roller pigeons” are flown in competitions and scored by judges who rate the birds on the quality of the “roll” and other factors. Of course, the pigeon rolling through the air looks like crippled and vulnerable prey to a hawk, falcon, or other bird of prey. Many of these pigeon enthusiasts have been routinely killing raptors in an attempt to protect their roller pigeons.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that as many as 2,000 to 3,000 raptors were being killed on the West Coast each year using methods including poisoning, beating birds to death with clubs, and suffocation in plastic bags. Even more troubling is the fact that the thirteen men charged with these crimes received little more than a slap on the wrist after pleading guilty. Currently, killing a protected bird is a Class B Misdemeanor under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which puts suffocating a Peregrine Falcon in the same category as unauthorized use of the image of Smokey Bear.
Please visit the Audubon Action Site and contact your representative on this extremely critical legislation. The Action Alert has a tell-a-friend link so please spread the word so that we can get Congress to provide an appropriate level of protection for our Raptors and Migratory Birds.