Skip Navigation

Depredation Frequently Asked Questions

What is Depredation?

Depredation is a conflict between people and bird(s) resulting in resource damage, economic loss, or a threat to health and human safety.  Depredation is often thought of as flocks of birds causing damage to agriculture crops.  The Depredation Regulation (50 CFR § 21.41) does not specifically define what constitutes depredation, but does require that the “nature of the crops or other interests being injured” be included in the application.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has accepted a broad range of “interests” such as protection of agriculture, human health and safety, private property, and natural resources.

What are protected birds?

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects most native birds in the United States. A list of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is called the 10.13 List is maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Any bird listed is federally protected and may be protected by the state as well. Any bird not listed is not protected by federal regulation, but may be protected by state regulation.

Do I need a Permit to:

..Harass, Haze, or Herd protected birds outside of the breeding season?

No.  You do not need a permit to harass, haze, or herd protected birds, with the exception of birds that are actively breeding, eagles, and federally listed species.  Most birds breed between April and July; however, some species breed year-round.  If you are sure birds are not breeding, any harassment that does not cause physical harm is legal without a permit.

...Harass, Haze, or Herd protected birds during the breeding season?

Yes.  If you are harassing birds that are actively breeding, you may cause abandonment of the nest.  Any activity that causes abandonment of eggs or chicks is considered “take” and is ILLEGAL.  A Depredation Permit is required to perform these activities. 

...Capture or Kill protected birds?

Yes.  If you would like to capture, relocate, and/or kill birds, a Depredation Permit is necessary.  To obtain a Depredation permit, an active harassing program must be in place before your permit application will be considered.

What resources are available?

If you need help identifying birds, hiring a wildlife biologist or contacting a local bird organization can be helpful.  Local rehabilitation centers can also help identify birds or put you in contact with trained professionals or volunteers.
Wildlife Services with the USDA-APHIS can help discuss non-lethal harassment methods that are effective for the species you are dealing with once it is identified.  Wildlife Services can be contacted at (866) 487-3297.

What is the Application Process?

I think I really need a Depredation Permit. Now what?

If you think your situation is likely to cause serious injury to yourself or your property and you have actively tried to legally harass birds without a permit, you will need to contact Wildlife Services to conduct an assessment.  Wildlife Services can be contacted at (866) 487-3297.  Please note you will be connected to a local office based on the area code of the phone you are calling from.  Wildlife Services will complete a Form 37 Damage Report which is necessary for applying for a Depredation permit.
We will not issue permits if you do not have a specific location with a known species and number of birds.  An active and aggressive non-lethal program is necessary to be considered for a permit. 

How do I apply?

  • Submit a complete Depredation Permit application.  Please use the check sheet to ensure your application is complete including processing fee and Wildlife Services Form 37.
  • A Permit Biologist will review your application.  Applications are reviewed in the order received.  It will likely take 30 to 90 days before your application is reviewed and may take 6 months or more depending on the level of review necessary.  PLEASE PLAN ACCORDINGLY!  A Permit Biologist will contact you if further information is needed regarding your application.
  • A paper copy of your permit will be mailed to you.

What is the fee?

Regular/Business - $100 ($50 amendment fee)
Private Homeowner - $50 (no amendment fee)
Government institutions are fee exempt

What else do I need?

  • You will need your Wildlife Services Form 37.  Wildlife Services can be contacted at (866) 487-3297.
  • You will need a STATE PERMIT if required by your state.
  • Please include any other relevant federal or state permits.
  • You will need to submit an annual report to keep you permit in good standing.  Permits cannot be renewed if all annual reports are not on file.

Permit Details

How long is the permit good for?

Variable, up to 1 year.

How do I submit an annual report?

An Annual Report is needed each year, EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO ACTIVITY DURING THE YEAR.  

How do I renew my permit?

A renewal letter will be sent to you informing you that your permit will expire soon.  If you do not receive this letter or want to renew prior to receiving the letter, you may complete a general renewal form. Please be sure to include all the information requested for a new Depredation Permit application.

I’ve applied for a renewal, but haven’t received anything and my permit has expired.

If you’ve submitted a renewal application prior to the expiration of your permit, you are authorized to continue the permitted activities.  Please keep a copy of your renewal letter and renewal application with your permit.  We will process your renewal as quickly as possible.

I need to change something on my permit.

You may amend your permit at any time.  Please note there is an amendment fee.  Please submit a written request for the amendment and any supporting documentation.  Follow the application check list and submit any information relevant to the change requested.


Last Updated: March 17, 2015
Return to main navigation