FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Varies of North American Birds. Credit: USFWS
Are there special rules for possession of feathers
by Native Americans?
Registered members of federally-recognized Native American
tribes may possess the feathers of Bald and Golden Eagles
for religious purposes. Such feathers may not be sold or traded,
and new feathers must be obtained by application to the National
Eagle Repository. For further information, see: http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/law/eagle/.
Is it all right to possess the feathers of captive birds?
In general, native North American birds may be held in
captivity only by zoos, rehabilitation centers, and falconers,
all operating under permit. Permitted facilities and individuals
may use molted feathers for educational purposes, but are
not permitted to sell or distribute feathers to private individuals.
What about the feathers of non-North American birds?
While the Migratory Bird Treaty Act does not apply to
non-North American birds, other laws and treaties may do so,
including the Endangered Species Act and the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES. For example,
all birds of prey, including hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls,
are protected by CITES, as are almost all parrots and related
birds. While it is legal to possess and sell the feathers
of captive-raised cage birds, such as parrots, macaws, and
pheasants, it is the responsibility of the seller to be able
to demonstrate that the feathers did not come from protected
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