The Service administers the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which states that it is illegal to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations.
Birds protected by the MBTA include all birds covered by the treaties for the protection of migratory birds between the United States and Great Britain (on behalf of Canada, 1916), Mexico (1936), Japan (1972), and Russia (1976), and subsequent amendments. See the species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
For questions or concerns please contact the Migratory Bird Office at: (303) 236-8171 or permitsR6MB@fws.gov
The Service also administers the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. This Act and its subsequent amendments prohibit the take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit. The Act defines "take" as "pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb." "Disturb" means: “to agitate or bother a bald or golden eagle to a degree that causes, or is likely to cause, based on the best scientific information available, 1) injury to an eagle, 2) a decrease in its productivity, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior, or 3) nest abandonment, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior."
We recommend that the following guidance be incorporated into projects to reduce effects to migratory birds, eagles, and raptors.
Bald and Golden Eagles
Q: I found a baby bird out of the nest or on the ground, what should I do?
A: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has provided this helpful guide to answer your questions!
In most circumstances, you do not need to do anything except keep cats indoors as young birds often leave the nest intentionally while learning to fly. During this period, the parents will continue to feed and care for the fledgling birds, which may still have some downy feathers. If the baby bird is not feathered or only has downy feathers and if you can easily and safely reach the nest, consider putting the bird back in the nest. Otherwise, contact an authorized wildlife rehabilitator for additional instructions.
Q: What should I do with an injured or dead bird?
A: If the injury is severe enough that it prevents the bird from performing its normal activities, contact an authorized wildlife rehabilitator. However, be aware that some injuries are minor or are not injuries at all. For example, some ducks are unable to fly during the summer because they are molting. And sometimes you might see a bird hopping on one leg... it may look like they only have one leg, but many birds (e.g., shorebirds) will tuck one leg under their body to conserve body heat. Finally, if you know of or suspect an injured or dead bird was illegally shot, poisoned, captured or harmed, or if the bird is an eagle or threatened or endangered species, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement or a conservation officer with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Q: Can I keep a feather, egg or nest that I found?
A: The simple answer is no. Most are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which prohibits the possession of birds, parts of birds (e.g., feathers, talons), eggs and nests without a permit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may issue permits to institutions like museums and universities for research or educational purposes but rarely issues permits to individuals to keep feathers, eggs and nests. You may keep feathers, wings, parts or entire specimens of species with state-approved hunting seasons, provided the bird was harvested legally. You may also possess feathers or parts of birds not protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act as long as you abide by any state regulations; however, it may be difficult determine if the feather is from a protected species - if in doubt, do not keep it.