Songbird Protection Coalition
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
This Act, officially passed in 1916 (i.e., closure of hunting in 1918), provides federal protection for migratory birds. Under the Act it is unlawful to take, import, export, possess, buy, sell, purchase, or barter any migratory bird. Feathers or other parts, nests, eggs, and products made from migratory birds are also covered by the Act. Take is defined as pursuing, hunting, shooting, poisoning, wounding, killing, capturing, trapping, or collecting.
Migratory bird hunting regulations, established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, allow the taking, during designated seasons, of ducks, geese, doves, rail, woodcock, and some other species. In addition, permits may be granted for various non-commercial activities involving migratory birds and some commercial activities involving captive-bred migratory birds.
Individuals or organizations may be fined up to $5,000 and $10,000, respectively, and may face up to six months imprisonment for misdemeanor violations of the Act. Felony violations may result in fines of up to $250,000 for individuals. $500,000 for organizations, and up to two years imprisonment.
States and Territories, by suitable legislation, are not prevented from making or enforcing laws or regulations which give further protection to migratory birds, their nests, and eggs within their respective borders. The provisions of the Act apply equally to Federal and non-Federal entities.
Source: United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, DOE Office of Environmental Policy and Guidance.