Something Wild: International Treaties Aren't Always About Trade

Kirk Dorsey wanted to be an ornithologist, so he went to Cornell University. “But I was not a particularly good student at ornithology…all the biology classes. But I was taking history classes for fun.” And in his junior year he found himself in a US Foreign Policy class. “There was a half a sentence in a text book, that in 1916, the United States and Canada negotiated a treaty to protect migratory birds. And I thought, ‘wow, I had no idea. I need to learn more about that.’” So, in graduate school, that became the subject of Dorsey’s dissertation. In the end, instead of becoming an ornithologist with an interest in history, Dorsey became an historian with an interest in birds. In fact, he’s now a professor of history at UNH. And the treaty he was talking about is the International Migratory Bird Treaty. The treaty “makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts,

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