In 1916, the United States and Great Britain (on behalf of Canada) adopted a uniform system of protection for nearly all migratory bird species that inhabit — and often migrate between — the United States and Canada. This month, in a timely release, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) unveiled a new study on migratory species in the Gulf of Mexico. Understanding the migratory pathways of fish, sea turtles, marine mammals, and birds are critical not only to species survival but also to the overall health of the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem.

Dr. Jorge Brenner and his team, including Carly Voight and Dr. David Mehlman, worked with more than 100 scientists to synthesize information about the pathways of migratory species. The study included nine birds like the whooping crane and wood thrush. The goal is to increase understanding of the migratory strategies and corridors of representative migratory fish, sea turtle, marine mammal, and bird species in the Gulf. Brenner’s team hopes the information will inform and motivate government decision-makers to support further research on migratory pathways. These pathways enable the survival of individual species and the protection of the overall health of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

In November, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the signing of the first international commitment to protect and conserve migratory birds, the Migratory Bird Treaty. They are holding a fun, family-friendly event at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, Louisiana. Gulf Bird Fest will be held November 12th from 10 am – 2 pm with bird-related activities and entertainment. This event is free with your Zoo admission.

A copy of the TNC report, Migratory Species in the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem is available by download. For more information on Gulf Bird Fest go to the Audubon Nature Institute website.