Bald eagle

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act has helped species like the bald eagle re-establish healthy populations across the United States.

ERIC GREGORY/Journal Star file photo

It was a wintry February morning outside the Nebraska Capitol Monday morning with few birds to be seen, but inside the Warner chambers, the temperature was warmer and bird was the word.

“I, Pete Ricketts, Governor of the State of Nebraska, do hereby proclaim the year 2018 as YEAR OF THE BIRD in Nebraska, and I do hereby urge all citizens to take due note of the observance.”

These are the words signed by the governor Monday in honor of birds all across our great state. In honor of 100 years of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 2018 was named the Year of the Bird. The act has been protecting birds and bird habitat across the country and helping species like bald eagles and peregrine falcons to re-establish healthy populations not only in Nebraska, but all across the United States.

Audubon Nebraska, partnering with National Geographic, BirdLife International and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is celebrating the Year of the Bird with monthly calls to action as well as local programming all through the year — from bird walks and workshops to community science projects and Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival in March.

“There are meaningful and simple steps that anyone can take to help birds each month during 2018,” said Bill Taddicken, Audubon Nebraska's interim state director, during his speech at the proclamation ceremony.

From the Sandhills and western bluffs to the forested banks of the Missouri River, Nebraska habitats are important to birds and birds are important to Nebraska and Nebraskans. It is simple, fun, and important to celebrate in your own way by watching, counting or feeding birds this year. For more ways you and your family can help our feathered friends in 2018, go to birdyourworld.org and take the pledge.

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Jason St. Sauver is the Community Education Director at Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center.

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