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Protected Birds

HI . . .

Just to clarify the current thread about what's protected and what's 
not, the Federal Migratory Bird treaty protects all native wild birds 
in the U.S., not just songbirds. (That's why, for example, hawks and 
hummingbirds are protected.) There are additional laws that protect 
gamebirds (ducks, pheasants, quail, etc.) but allow them to be hunted 
in season. And then there are additional laws that protect endangered 
and threatened bird species. Crows are protected songbirds, too, 
but--like some other species--can be taken under special "nuisance" 

House Sparrows and European Starlings are both songbirds but are 
excluded because they are introduced foreign species. Some postings 
have implied that the Rock Dove is a songbird--it's not, of 
course--but is likewise not protected because it is introduced. I 
think it is correct that any introduced species can be taken, unless 
it is a gamebird (such as Ring-necked Pheasant).

The migratory bird laws are far-ranging and not only prohibit the 
killing or possession of any native wild bird but also any of its 
parts (feathers, bones, etc.), eggs, or nests. Any dead birds or bird 
artifacts should be turned over immediately to an institution that 
has the proper salvage and collection permits; this would usually 
mean a museum, college, or university in your area that could 
probably make very good use of fresh specimens.

Incidentally, federal bird laws are layered with state game laws, and 
violators can be prosecuted at both levels. In reality, the laws, are 
difficult to enforce, but they are good laws and exist for very good 
reasons--to protect the killing of wild birds.

Now if we could just get some equally strong laws on the books to 
conserve bird habitats, maybe we could REALLY protect the birds!

Happy Birding!


BILL HILTON JR., "The Piedmont Naturalist"
Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History
1432 DeVinney Road
York, South Carolina 29745

e-mail: <hilton@hiltonpond.org>

Voice: (803) 684-5852

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