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Thousands of geese taking flight.
Information icon Geese flocking overhead. Photo by Corey Douglas.

Migratory birds

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed in 1918. That Act prohibits the taking, killing, possession, transportation, and importation of migratory birds, their eggs, parts, and nests; except when specifically authorized by the U.S. Department of the Interior. While the Act has no provision for allowing unauthorized take, the Service realizes that some birds may be harmed or killed as a result of project implementation even when reasonable measures to protect birds are implemented. The Service’s Office of Law Enforcement (LE) carries out its mission to protect migratory birds through investigations and enforcement, as well as by fostering relationships with individuals, companies, and industries that have taken effective steps to minimize their impacts on migratory birds, and by encouraging others to enact such programs. As such, LE focuses its resources on investigating and prosecuting individuals and entities that take migratory birds without regard for their actions or without effort to implement Service recommendations or conservation measures.

The Louisiana ES Office works with project proponents to develop measures to protect nesting bald eagles, colonial water birds, and habitat that is important for birds of conservation concern to the Service. Construction time restrictions and bird abatement plans are two measures that we use to avoid impacts to nesting migratory birds. We have also worked with regulatory agencies in securing monetary contributions from developers to offset losses of bird nesting habitat.

Under the authorities of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is the lead Federal agency for managing and conserving migratory birds in the United States. The Service’s Migratory Bird Program’s Division of Migratory Bird Management and Division of Bird Habitat Conservation have many programs that are actively involved in migratory bird conservation activities. Together these programs and initiatives are working to provide leadership in the conservation of bird habitat and conservation and management of birds for future generations.

Permit, regulatory information

How to report a banded bird

Bird databases

Bird conservation


Louisiana Ecological Services Field Office
(337) 291-3100

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