The Year of the Bird!

Migratory Bird Treaty Act Centennial

 Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

A-well-a ev’rybody’s heard about the bird… B-b-b-bird, b-birdd’s a word

Get ready to sing the 1963 hit song Surfin’ Bird! Exuberant and full of life, it will put you in the mood to celebrate the 100th anniversary of one of the world’s most important treaties – the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Enacted between the United States/Canada and Great Britain in 1918, the Act, which now includes Mexico, Japan and Russia, makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, or sell migratory birds.

At a time when many bird species were threatened by the commercial trade in birds and bird feathers, The MBTA was a landmark act and one of the first federal laws to focus on the environment.

The importance of this act, that’s done so much to protect migratory birds, is so great that the National Audubon Society, National Geographic and over 150 organizations jointly declared 2018 The Year of Bird.

David Yarnold, Audubon’s President and CEO, says, “No other law on the books helps protect birds as much as the MBTA. The Snowy Egret, Wood Duck, Tricolored Heron, White-winged Crossbill, and Audubon’s Shearwater have all been saved by the MBTA.”

 

Yarnold notes that the Snowy Egret’s brilliant white feathers were in such demand by 19th and early 20th century hat makers to use in women’s hats that the bird was in danger of being hunted to extinction.

 

William Hornaday, Director of the New York Zoological Society, says, London at that time was “the Mecca of the feather killers of the world.” During a nine month period, London’s fashion market made use of the feathers from close to 130,000 egrets and tens of thousands of other birds.

Thanks to two women – Boston socialite Harriet Lawrence Hemenway and her cousin Minna Hall – the deadly bird trade would eventually come to an end after they invited their friends in Boston’s social register to a series of tea parties in 1896 and implored them to stop wearing hats with feathers.

Along with this, they asked the women to join in an organization to protect egrets and other birds. Over 900 women agreed and this organization became the Massachusetts Audubon Society – one of the leading environmental groups that worked to bring about legislation to protect birds and ultimately the enactment of the Migratory Bird Trade Act.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are amazed by what Hemenway and Hall accomplished. During an era when women weren’t allowed to own property or vote they went against the fashion of the time and helped save millions of migratory birds from death and entire species from extinction.

For that, we say, “Hats off!” to the two women from Boston!

Come Join in the centennial celebration!

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

SurfWriter Girls

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

 

California’s Coast – A Novel Experience

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

California’s iconic coast has been the setting for some of the most classic novels in American literature, inspiring literary greats Jack London, John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac, Richard Henry Dana, and others.

Oakland

Acclaimed adventure author London, who wrote The Call of the Wild and White Fang, grew up in Oakland and spent much of his childhood in the waterfront area now known as Jack London Square.

His book The Sea Wolf, written in 1904, is set here and will put you in the mood to explore the harbor, which was filled in mystery and intrigue in London’s day.

Located on the scenic Oakland/Alameda estuary, the square is a year-round gathering area for shopping and dining, bicycling and kayaking. Be sure to check out the farmers market when you’re here.

Monterey Bay

No one brings the magic of Monterey Bay to life better than Nobel Prize-winner Steinbeck, who has placed many of his stories there, including Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row, and Sweet Thursday. Picaresque and energetic, these three novels capture the quirky feel of Monterey and the unconventional people who live there.

Marine biologist Doc, a central character in both Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday, is based on Steinbeck’s friend Ed Ricketts, a key person in the life of Monterey. The influence of Ricketts, who wrote the pioneering ecology book Between Pacific Tides in 1939, is still felt in the community.

Steinbeck writes: “Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.” Monterey is still steeped in Steinbeck’s prose and you’ll feel it, too, exploring the streets, Fisherman’s Wharf and world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Big Sur

Kerouac, the post-WWII Beat Generation writer known for On the Road – the 1959 novel that inspired countless readers to hit the open road in search of adventure – also focused his attention on Big Sur. His novel Big Sur captures the idyllic feel of this stretch of undeveloped coastline South of Carmel that’s often been described as a national treasure.

Raw and majestic, the section of Highway 1 that runs through Big Sur is one of the most scenic driving routes in the world. And, thankfully, no billboards or advertising are allowed.

Dana Point

Dana, whose 1840 novel Two Years Before the Mast recounts his voyage on a merchant ship from Boston to California, paints a vivid picture of early California’s coastline from San Diego to San Francisco.

Dana Point, in Orange County – one of the stops on his journey – is named after him. It’s a local spot for SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel.

With a beautiful harbor and shops and restaurants to visit, it’s picturesque with a hometown feel. Visit the Ocean Institute when you’re here and you can explore the ocean’s underwater world and maritime history.

 

Traveling along California’s coast you’ll see how these timeless novels came to life. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself drawn into the stories.

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

SurfWriter Girls

Please post your comment below. Comments will appear the next day.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.