Utah Ecological Services
Mountain-Prairie Region
Migratory Birds


Utah Raptor Guidelines

We recommend use of the Utah Field Office Guidelines for Raptor Protection from Human and Land Use Disturbances (Romin and Muck 2002) which were developed in part to provide consistent application of raptor protection measures and provide full compliance with environmental laws regarding raptor protection.  Raptor surveys and mitigation measures are provided in the Guidelines as recommendations to ensure that proposed projects will avoid adverse impacts to raptors.  Locations of existing raptor nests should be identified prior to the initiation of project activities.  Appropriate spatial buffer zones of inactivity should be established during crucial breeding and nesting periods relative to raptor nest sites or territories.  Arrival at nesting sites can occur as early as December for certain raptor species.  Nesting and fledging can continue through August.

Romin L. and J. Muck. 2002. Utah Field Office Guidelines for Raptor Protection from Human and Land Use Disturbances. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Salt Lake City, Utah. (PDF)

Table 1. Seasonal Occurrence and Habitat Use of Raptors in Utah (PDF)

Region 6 Migratory Bird Conservation Actions for Projects to Reduce the Risks of Take During the Nesting Season (PDF)

Our Shared Responsibilities and the MBTA Brochure (PDF)

Species Information

ESA-Listed Species in Utah

Candidate Species in Utah

Q&A (baby birds, injured birds, possession, nest take, etc.)

Q: I found a baby bird out of the nest or on the ground, what should I do?

A: 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 birds 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 speciments 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.


Last updated: July 15, 2015