I work at a wildlife rescue and rehab facility, and this week I had the extreme displeasure of having to report a business and their hired handymen to the US Fish and Wildlife Enforcement office. A citizen called, reporting that a business she lives across the street from had hired some workers who destroyed the nest of some seagulls that were nesting on top of the roof of the business, leaving the gulls and their babies to fend for themselves. Apparently the business didn’t appreciate the… mess… these seagulls were making on the roof and opted to have them removed. And apparently they don’t understand the law.
Migratory birds are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, which was created to help protect birds. It is a federal crime to violate this Act, intentional or unintentional. Violations include, but are not limited to:
- Deliberately hunting protected birds.
- Poisoning birds with improperly used pesticides.
- Poaching birds for sale as pets.
- Destroying nests or disturbing nesting birds.
- Raising wild birds as pets.
- Collecting wild bird eggs, nests, or feathers.
Punishments for these violations can be $500 in fines and 6 months in jail, or in extreme cases, $2000 in fines and up to 2 years in jail.
If you are fortunate enough to live near or with wildlife, please respect them and their habitats. They have every right to live where they live and do what they do, just as much as you.