What is the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?


Quick Answer

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 protects migratory birds between the United States and Canada by making the act of hunting, capturing or selling protected birds illegal. The Act also protects feathers, eggs and nests. The Act protects over 800 species as of 2015.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

It's possible to obtain permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to participate in activities otherwise prohibited by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, including taxidermy and falconry. The FWS also issues permits to people who use protected birds for educational purposes or scientific research. An airport may obtain a permit to eliminate geese near the facility for safety reasons.

The FWS made several revisions to the original 1918 version of the Act in 2006, including adding 152 protected species, eliminating 12 species and updating the scientific names of several species. The agency performed these updates because the original Act accidentally omitted some species, while other species changed geographical distribution. A court order gave the mute swan temporary protection in 2001, but the changes in 2006 removed its protection because this species is human introduced and non-native.

Species covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 include the bald eagle, American black vulture, downy woodpecker, mourning dove and red-tailed hawk. Some game birds are also covered by the Act, but the FWS determined that hunting these species is appropriate if hunting the species is a long tradition and appropriate for population maintenance. The Act lists over 170 species as game birds, but people can only legally hunt 60 species.

Learn more about Birds

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Can you buy a snowy owl?

    A: The snowy owl is a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so a person cannot legally purchase or own one in the United States. However, in ... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Are all eagles protected?

    A: Bald and golden eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The bald eagle is also protected by the... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the fastest bird?

    A: The world’s fastest bird in flight is the peregrine falcon. In a hunting dive, peregrine falcons frequently reach a speed of 200 mph. As of 2015, the highe... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the biggest bird?

    A: Native to Africa, the ostrich is the biggest bird on the planet. Although it cannot fly, the ostrich is an excellent runner and can reach a top speed of 43... Full Answer >
    Filed Under: