[Federal Register: December 10, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 236)]
[Page 69705-69706]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Fish and Wildlife Service

Final Permit Conditions for Abatement Activities Using Raptors

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have finalized permit 
conditions to allow the use of raptors protected by the Migratory Bird 
Treaty Act for abatement activities. We will authorize the use of these 
raptors for this purpose under our Special Purpose permits. Allowing 
the use of captive-bred raptors to conduct abatement activities is 
consistent with ensuring the long-term conservation of these species 
and will serve a public need.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shauna Hanisch, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management, 4401 North Fairfax 
Drive, Mail Stop MBSP-4107, Arlington, VA 22203-1610; 
Shauna_Hanisch@fws.gov; (703) 358-1714.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS or 
Service) is the Federal agency with primary responsibility for managing 
migratory birds. Our authority is the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) 
(16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.), which implements conventions with Great 
Britain (for Canada), Mexico, Japan, and the Soviet Union (Russia). The 
MBTA authorizes us to issue regulations governing permits for migratory 
bird use. They are found in title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, 
parts 10, 13, 21, and 22.
    The Service has implemented a series of migratory bird permit 
memoranda to ensure consistent implementation of our regulations and 
policies pertaining to migratory birds. Our latest memorandum in the 
series (``this memorandum'') provides guidance that the Service will 
use in issuing Special Purpose permits (50 CFR 21.27) to authorize the 
possession and use of raptors protected by the MBTA to abate 
depredation problems. For purposes of this memorandum, ``abatement'' 
means the training and use of raptors to flush, haze, or take birds (or 
other wildlife where allowed) to mitigate depredation and nuisance 
problems, including threats to human health and safety. Permit holders 
may be paid for providing abatement services. We developed this 
memorandum in response to growing interest in the use of raptors to 
conduct commercial abatement activities and have determined that 
authorizing such use is consistent with the MBTA and with the long-term 
conservation of raptor species.
    In a January 12, 2007, Federal Register notice (72 FR 1556-1557), 
we published draft permit conditions for Special Purpose-Abatement 
(SPA) permits and we requested public comment on those draft 
conditions. Comments from the approximately 85 letters and emails we 
received were grouped into 58 categories. The four most frequent 
comments made were: support for the abatement policy, not putting a 
limit on the number of raptors authorized under an SPA permit, allowing 
all raptor species currently used in falconry to be used for abatement, 
and amending the language in Condition I to account for situations 
where it wouldn't be safe to leave a carcass in the field. Six State 
wildlife agencies (AK, AR, AZ, NJ, NM, WY) and 2 USDA Animal and Plant 
Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services state programs (IL and NJ) 
sent us comments on the permit conditions. In response to public 
comments, we clarified what the requirements are to obtain an SPA 
permit and who may be a subpermittee under an SPA permit; we clarified 
the requirements for raptors that will be used for both abatement and 
falconry; and we specified situations where it is not appropriate to 
leave dead birds in the field. We have also added to the final permit 
conditions language stating that hybrid raptors are required to be 
attached with two radio transmitters so that they can be tracked and 
recovered if they become lost. The final permit conditions are 
presented below.
    Applicants for a SPA permit will use FWS Form 3-200-10f, the 
Migratory Bird Special Purpose--Miscellaneous application form until we 
complete and obtain approval for an SPA permit application form. The 
application fee is $100, which is the fee for Special Purpose-
Miscellaneous permits, the category under which abatement permits for 
public safety at airports have been issued. If we determine that the 
application meets our requirements, we will issue an SPA permit 
containing the proposed conditions listed below (items A through K). 
The first three conditions (A, B, and C) are standard for all Special 
Purpose permits. The remaining conditions (D through K) are specific to 
SPA permits.

Special Purpose-Abatement Permit Conditions

    A. General conditions set out in Subpart D of 50 CFR 13, and 
specific conditions contained in federal regulations cited in block 2 
above, are hereby made a part of this permit. All activities authorized 
by this permit must be carried out in accordance with and for the 
purposes described in the application submitted. Continued validity, or 
renewal, of this permit is subject to complete and timely compliance 
with all applicable conditions.
    B. The validity of this permit is conditioned upon strict 
observance of all applicable state, local or other federal law.
    C. Valid for use by permittee named above.
    D. You are authorized to acquire (including purchase and sell), 
possess, and train captive-bred raptors, in any quantity and species 
combination, to include hybrids from those species, of the following 
migratory bird species for the purpose of conducting abatement 

[List species common and scientific name.]

    All raptors must be marked on the metatarsus with a seamless 
numbered band issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hybrid 
raptors must be fitted with two radio transmitters and you are 
responsible for tracking and retrieving the raptors if they become 
    E. You may not take species protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty 
Act unless such take is authorized under a federal depredation permit 
that identifies you as a subpermittee or under a federal depredation 
order. You do not need a federal permit to scare or herd depredating 
birds (except for Bald and Golden Eagles or species protected by the 
Endangered Species Act). You do not need a federal permit to take 
species that are not protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or any 
other applicable federal law.
    F. If you have a falconry permit in addition to an abatement 
permit, you may use a raptor held under the falconry permit for 
abatement without transferring the raptor to this abatement permit. 
However, a raptor held under this abatement permit may only be used for 
falconry if it is transferred from this abatement permit to a falconry 
    G. Subpermittees: Unless otherwise authorized by the issuing 
office, a person under your direct control or employed by you, or under 
contract to you for purposes authorized by this permit, may carry out 
the permitted activities only if he or she holds a valid falconry 
permit. An apprentice falconer operating under your permit may fly any 
species of raptor you hold under this permit when conducting abatement 
activities. When conducting abatement

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activities under this permit, each of your subpermittees must have a 
copy of your abatement permit and a dated letter from you identifying 
him or her (name, address, falconry permit number) as your 
    H. You must submit a Service form 3-186A (Migratory Bird 
Acquisition and Disposition Report) completed in accordance with the 
instructions on the form for each acquisition and disposition of a 
    I. If your raptor takes an MBTA-protected bird in the course of 
conducting abatement and that take is not authorized by a federal 
depredation order or federal depredation permit, the bird must be left 
in the field (or the raptor may be allowed to feed on it in the field), 
except at locations (e.g., airports or airfields) where human safety 
considerations preclude the bird being left in the field.
    J. All facilities and equipment must meet standards described in 50 
CFR 21.29 and all birds must be maintained under humane and healthful 
conditions at all times.
    K. Acceptance of this permit authorizes inspection in accordance 
with 50 CFR 13.47.

    Authority: The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 16 U.S.C. 703-712.

    Dated: August 22, 2007.
Todd Willens,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. E7-23797 Filed 12-7-07; 8:45 am]