Laws Concerning Selling Migratory Birds, Raptors, and Their Parts

As appraisers how often have we heard “can I sell this duck mount?”

Being a Taxidermist I have had the occasional call asking if I can mount a hawk or a song bird that flew into a window or a car. After explaining the basics of the law they hang up never to be heard from again.

Here is the answer to that question and maybe some other ones that will pop up regarding song birds, waterfowl and raptors.

Migratory birds cover most any bird including ducks, swans, and loons etc… crows, woodcocks, snipes, song birds, and Raptors including hawks, eagles, and owls etc…

Initially, an international agreement was signed Aug. 16, 1916, between the United States, Great Britain and Canada, the Treaty needed implementing through legislation. President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law July 3, 1918.

The basics of this Act makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, kill, capture, possess, buy, sell or barter any migratory bird, migratory bird product or any part of a bird, including their feathers, nests or eggs.

Before the Act many birds were killed only for their fancy feathers to supply the demand for decorative hats for women of the day. Some species of herons and egrets were nearly wiped out as a result of this fad.

This Act had the power to establish no-killing-at-any-time of migratory songbirds and other migratory non-game birds (these would be birds without a hunting season).

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918 has very precise language and states:

“Unless and except as permitted by regulations made as hereinafter provided, it shall be unlawful at any time, by any means or in any manner, to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill, possess, offer for sale, sell, offer to barter, barter, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, export, import, cause to be shipped, exported, or imported, deliver for transportation, transport or cause to be transported, carry or cause to be carried, or receive for shipment, transportation, carriage, or export, any migratory bird, any part, nest, or egg of any such bird, or any product, whether or not manufactured, which consists, or is composed in whole or in part, of any such bird or any part, nest or egg.”

For taxidermist a Federal Migratory Bird Taxidermy Permit will authorize taxidermists to mount or otherwise perform taxidermy work on migratory birds, their parts, nests or eggs, belonging to someone else. The conditions of a Federal Taxidermy Permit are very specific. Review Title 50 Parts 10, 13, 20 (subparts A-B, D-J) and 21.24 of the Code of Federal Regulations

Migratory game birds hunted and legally harvested may be mounted for personal use or display purposes only. They may not be mounted for sale. The sale, trade or barter of federally protected migratory birds is a felony, except for some captive-bred birds.

Questions concerning the protection birds should be directed to a local state Conservation Officer or the nearest office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.