AN amendment put forward by the promoters of the Wild Birds (Duck and Geese) Protection Bill has secured the withdrawal of the opposition, on behalf of shore-shooters, which has been holding up the Bill in the House of Commons, and it is to be hoped that it will now have a successful and rapid passage. The amendment provides separate close-times for wild duck and geese above and below high-tide mark; further, the date of the period of prohibition of import of wildfowl will commence on February 1. This last is an extremely important feature of the Bill, for it stops the demand for duck caught in decoys on the Continent during the breeding season. The Bill, which is promoted by the International Committee for Bird Preservation (British Section) and has the full support of the Government, is part of a big international scheme to preserve the stock of wildfowl in Europe. The accumulation of adverse effects of modern civilization is having a most serious effect on wild duck and geese. Cold storage, facilities of transport, draining of land, development of arctic areas and over-commercialization by means of decoys are but a few of the factors which are depriving wildfowl of their nesting and resting grounds and causing their destruction on a vast scale. The shooting season is also admittedly too long in many countries. Sweden has already taken drastic steps by prohibiting all shooting in several of its largest provinces, Denmark and Germany have greatly restricted their shooting seasons, and other European countries are alive to the necessity of action to safeguard the general stock of wildfowl before it is too late. The state of affairs in America, where wildfowl have been reduced to a perilously low number, is only too gloomy an example.
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Preservation of Wildfowl. Nature 143, 194 (1939). https://doi.org/10.1038/143194a0