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Migratory Bird Treaty Act

16 U.S.C. §§703-711

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Statute Outline:

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Prohibitions

Except as provided under the statute, it is unlawful to take, possess, or offer to sell a migratory bird, or any part, nest, or egg of a migratory bird, that is included in the terms of the conventions between the United States and Great Britain, the United States and Japan, the United States and Mexico, and the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics for the protection of migratory birds. This prohibition applies to products made in whole or in part from a migratory bird, or any part, nest, or egg of a migratory bird. [16 U.S.C. §703]

Interstate and international transport of a migratory bird, or any part, nest, or egg of a migratory bird, is prohibited if it was taken, killed, or transported in violation of the laws of the district where it was taken or killed, or from which it was transported. Any bird taken in violation of the laws of the Provinces or Dominion of Canada may not be transported through or imported into the United States. [16 U.S.C. §705]

Any state or territory may provide protection above the level set by these conventions, but may not extend the presidentially approved open season. [16 U.S.C. §708]

Exceptions

The Secretary of Interior may allow some taking of migratory birds when compatible with the terms of these conventions and with due regard for the distribution and abundance of the species. Regulations establishing an open season for any migratory bird become effective with the President’s approval. [16 U.S.C. §704]

The statute allows breeding of migratory birds for sale as food under proper regulations. [16 U.S.C. §711]

Enforcement

An employee of the Department of Interior may arrest without a warrant an individual who violates the statute in the employee’s presence, may execute a warrant or other process under the statute, and may search any place with a search warrant. [16 U.S.C. §706]

Criminal penalties apply to violations of the statute. A person knowingly violating the statute with the intent to sell or offer to sell a migratory bird, or any part, nest, or egg of a migratory bird, may be convicted of a felony. [16 U.S.C. §707]

Any migratory bird, or part, nest, or egg of a migratory bird, taken, possessed, or offered for sale in violation of the statute shall be forfeited to the U.S. government on the offender’s conviction. [16 U.S.C. §706]

Equipment and vehicles used to violate provisions of the statute are forfeited to the U.S. government on conviction of a felony violation. Forfeiture of equipment and vehicles is in addition to any fine and jail time. [16 U.S.C. §707]

Full Statute:

The statute is available from the U.S. Government Publishing Office: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2017-title16/html/USCODE-2017-title16-chap7-subchapII.htm