South Florida Ecological Services Field Office
Southeast Region


Migratory Birds
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South Florida Guidance Documents and Information

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OspreyMigratory birds are some of nature’s most magnificent resources. They have a significant role in the health of the environment, economy, and culture in the U.S. and internationally. The mission of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Program is to conserve migratory bird populations and their habitats for future generations, through careful monitoring, effective management, and by supporting national and international partnerships that conserve habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

As the lead Federal agency for managing and conserving migratory birds in the United States, many Service programs are actively involved in migratory bird conservation activities. Although these activities are generally developed within a specific Service Program, the success of these activities is also dependent upon close intra-Service coordination in addition to building and sustaining vital partnerships with other Federal and State agencies, tribes, and private entities.

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WindTurbinescreditJoshuaWinchellUSFWSThe Fish and Wildlife Service's Conservation Planning Assistance Program (CPA) typically becomes involved in the review of potential wind energy developments on public lands through the National Environmental Policy Act. This may be as a cooperating agency or because of the Service's responsibilities under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, or because of the Agency's special technical expertise. CPA may also become involved in the review of potential wind energy developments on private lands if our technical expertise in addressing wildlife issues is requested on a voluntary basis.

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Florida Scrub JayFollowing close on the heels of the Lacey Act and the Weeks-McLean Law, the framers of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act were determined to put an end to the commercial trade in birds and their feathers that, by the early years of the 20th century, had wreaked havoc on the populations of many native bird species.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act decreed that all migratory birds and their parts (including eggs, nests, and feathers) were fully protected.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is the domestic law that affirms, or implements, the United States' commitment to four international conventions (with Canada, Japan, Mexico, and Russia) for the protection of a shared migratory bird resource. Each of the conventions protect selected species of birds that are common to both countries (i.e., they occur in both countries at some point during their annual life cycle).

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Red Bellied WoodpeckerConstruction of communications towers (including radio, television, cellular, and microwave) in the United States has been growing at an exponential rate, increasing at an estimated 6 percent to 8 percent annually. According to the Federal Communication Commission's 2000 Antenna Structure Registry, the number oflighted towers greater than 199'feet above ground level currently number over 45,000 and the total number of towers over 74,000. By 2003, all television stations must be digital, adding potentially 1,000 new towers exceeding 1,000 feet AGL.

The construction of new towers creates a potentially significant impact on migratory birds, especially some 350 species of night-migrating birds. Communications towers are estimated to kill 4-5 million birds per year, which violates the spirit and the intent of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Code of Federal Regulations at Part 50 designed to implement the MBTA. Some of the species affected are also protected under the Endangered Species Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Act.

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Golden EagleThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a final rule on two new permit regulations that would allow for the take of eagles and eagle nests under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act). The final rule should was published in the Federal Register on September 11, 2009.

Bald Eagles were removed from the endangered species list in June 2007 because their populations recovered sufficiently. However, the protections under the Eagle Act continue to apply. When the Bald Eagle was delisted, the Service proposed regulations to create a permit program to authorize limited take of Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles where take is associated with otherwise lawful activities.

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Last updated: February 5, 2021