The Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Most people do not realize it is a crime to interfere , harm or kill most of the migratory birds we see daily in our yards.  Here are the details.

What is the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?

The treaty prohibits  the hunting, killing, capturing, possession (this is why we don’t keep or raise baby birds or try to nurse injured birds back to health ourselves!), sale, transportation and exportation of migratory birds, and their feathers, eggs and nests. It also provided for the establishment of refuges to protect bird habitat, and it encouraged the monitoring of bird populations for conservation purposes. Amendments to the initial treaty extended its range to include other nations: Mexico in 1936, Japan in 1972 and the USSR (now Russia) in 1976 are all included in the act today.

The reason I post this is to highlight that a majority of the birds in my yard (Curve Billed Thrasher , Cactus Wren etc) are protected under this Act.  As I have had trespassing and damage to nests plus gunshots and dead birds on this list found in my yard. I am in the process of litigating those concerned.

Here is the extract from the MBTA that is relevant to the  crimes encountered on my land. As I have found birds with tell tale gunshot marks , the charges would likely constitute the felony penalties of $2000 and up to two years in jail, or both

_________________from MBTA

Arrests/Search Warrants. To enforce the Act, authorized Department of Interior employees may:   without a warrant, arrest a person violating the Act in the employee’s presence or view; execute a warrant or other process issued by an officer or court to enforce the Act; search any place with a warrant. All birds, parts, nests or eggs that are captured, killed, taken, offered or sold, bartered, purchased, shipped, transported, carried, imported, exported or possessed contrary to the Act will be seized and, upon conviction of the offender or upon court judgment, be forfeited to the U.S. and disposed of by the Secretary. § 706.

Violations/Penalties. According to the Act, a person, association, partnership or corporation which violates the Act or its regulations is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $500, jail up to six months, or both. Anyone who knowingly takes a migratory bird and intends to, offers to, or actually sells or barters the bird is guilty of a felony, with fines up to $2,000, jail up to two years, or both. (Permissible fines are increased significantly by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, as amended in 1987, which is summarized separately in this Handbook.


This information and evidence has been turned over to the  relevant authorities.