US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, October 2011


Migratory birds are among nature’s most magnificent living resources and play a significant ecological, economic, and cultural role in the United States and internationally. Because of their ubiquitous and conspicuous presence, migratory birds symbolize America’s experience with our natural world.

Birds enrich our lives in many ways; the loss of bird populations would immeasurably diminish the quality of life for the American public. Birds have intrinsic value to people as threads in the earth’s ecological tapestry, as pollinators, predators, and prey. Birds are also actively appreciated and enjoyed by millions of people throughout the country.

Migratory Bird Program Goals

Protect, restore, and manage migratory bird populations to:

• ensure long-term ecological sustainability of all migratory bird populations,

• increase socioeconomic benefits,

• promote and enhance hunting, bird watching and other outdoor bird-related experiences,

• increase awareness of the value of migratory birds and their habitats for their intrinsic ecological, recreational and economic significance.

The Migratory Bird Program seeks to conserve migratory bird populations and associated habitats for future generations, through careful monitoring and effective population and habitat management.

Our Work

The program is committed to undertaking an unprecedented level of cooperation and coordination to protect and conserve these international treasures, and to working together and with partners to assess, manage and conserve over 1,000 native migratory bird species and their habitats.

The Migratory Bird Program develops and implements survey, monitoring, and assessment activities to determine status of both game and non-game birds. Using this information, the Service provides opportunities, through the issuance of permits and regulations, for organizations and individuals to participate in migratory bird conservation activities, such as scientific research, rehabilitation of injured birds, education, falconry, and taxidermy, and control of overabundant species.

Each year, the program compiles proposed and final regulations to authorize migratory bird hunting seasons. The Flyway System provides a solid foundation for a partnership-based approach with the states to establish these annual migratory bird hunting regulations.

The program conducts biological planning, project implementation, and evaluation within the framework of regional, national and international bird management plans, treaties, and initiatives - Partners in Flight, the U.S. Shorebird Plan, the North American Water-bird Plan and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.