Time Machine Tuesday: 1903 Bird Protection Act

Yesterday I wrote about humans’ effects on wildlife.  This issue is nothing new.  In 1903, the Colorado Legislature passed an Act providing for the protection of birds and their nests and eggs.  Colorado’s Act pre-dated Federal protections that were put in place under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which prohibits the killing or capturing of migratory birds.

https://dspace.library.colostate.edu/webclient/DeliveryManager/digitool_items/cub01_storage/2014/02/19/file_1/247400Colorado’s 1903 Act, which you can read online via the digital Colorado Session Laws, says that “No person shall, within the State of Colorado, kill or catch, or have in his or her possession, living or dead, any wild bird other than a game bird…no part of the plumage, skin, or body of any bird protected by this section shall be sold…[and] no person shall, within the State of Colorado, take or needlessly destroy the nest or the eggs of any wild bird nor shall have such nests or eggs in his or her possession.”  Colorado statute still provides for the protection of birds, pursuant to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

What were bird populations like in Colorado in 1903?  The Birds of Colorado, published in 1897 by the State Agricultural College (now Colorado State University), reports that there were at that time 360 known bird species in Colorado.  Today the official count for Colorado is 499 species.  (Source:  http://coloradobirdrecords.org/Reports/Checklist.aspx)  To learn more about Colorado’s bird species and the state’s wildlife protection efforts, visit Colorado Parks & Wildlife or search our library’s online catalog and digital repository.