Colorado Ecological Services Field Office
Mountain-Prairie Region
Migratory Birds and Eagles MBTA List of Birds MBTA The BGEPA


JULY 26, 2012


The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), enacted in 1918, prohibits the taking of any migratory birds, their parts, nests, or eggs except as permitted by regulations, and does not require intent to be proven.  Section 703 of the MBTA states, “Unless and except as permitted by regulations ... it shall be unlawful at any time, by any means or in any manner, to ... take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill, or possess ... any migratory bird, any part, nest, or eggs of any such bird....” 

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) prohibits knowingly taking, or taking with wanton disregard for the consequences of an activity, any bald or golden eagles or their body parts, nests, or eggs, which includes collection, molestation, disturbance, or killing.

Work that could lead to the take of a migratory bird or eagle, their young, eggs, or nests (e.g., if you are building new roads, towerns, or power lines in the vicinity of a nest), should be coordinated with our office before any actions are taken. 

  • Removal or destruction of such nests, or causing abandonment of a nest could constitute violation of one or both of the above statutes. 
  • Removal of any active migratory bird nest or nest tree is prohibited. 
  • For golden eagles, inactive nest permits are limited to activities involving resource extraction or human health and safety.  Mitigation, as determined by the local Service field office, may be required for loss of these nests. 
  • No permits will be issued for an active nest of any migratory bird species, unless removal of an active nest is necessary for reasons of human health and safety. 
  • Therefore, if nesting migratory birds are present on or near the project area, timing is a significant consideration and needs to be addressed in project planning.
If nest manipulation is proposed for this project, the project proponent should contact the Service’s Migratory Bird Office in Denver at 303-236-8171 to see if a permit can be issued for this project.  No nest manipulation is allowed without a permit.  If a permit cannot be issued, the project may need to be modified to ensure take of a migratory bird or eagle, their young, eggs or nest will not occur.
Last Updated May 19, 2014