Monday, October 03, 2011

Birding: Federal Laws Protect Birds and their feathers





In order for wild birds to thrive, it's necessary for humans to avoid interferring with them. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is an important conservation Act that the U.S. implemented in 1918 - and was also the first federal environmental law.

Over 800 species of migratory and game birds are protected under this law; dead, living, feathers, nest, eggs and (sometimes) their habitat. Only a few narrow exceptions are made for bona fide Native American ceremonies, and for qualified scientific research.

Have you found a nest of birds on your property? your private property? You'd be well advised not to disturb the birds by moving, removing or handling them in any way. Don't collect feathers or allow children to capture any birds - the penalties are no joke. A misdemeanor conviction carries a fine of $500 to $15,000 with a felony violation that involves baiting a bird, or selling parts up to $100,000 and minimum of one year imprisonment.

Be warned, many of these laws have a "know or should have known" standard that requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to pursue any offeners.

Protection for birds

MBTA is a well-established law, and has been in enforcement for over 90 years. There have been some controversial cases, and some individuals and corporations have tried to challenge the spirit of the MBTA. It stands as the law of our land.

Follow our series called BIRDING for insight into the birds of Tennessee! We feature fascinating bird species that nest in our state year round or in migration.










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