50 CFR § 21.12 - General exceptions to permit requirements.

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§ 21.12 General exceptions to permit requirements.

The following persons or entities under the following conditions are exempt from the permit requirements:

(a) Employees of the Department of the Interior (DOI): DOI employees authorized to enforce the provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of July 3, 1918, as amended (40 Stat. 755; 16 U.S.C. 703-(711), may, without a permit, take or otherwise acquire, hold in custody, transport, and dispose of migratory birds or their parts, nests, or eggs as necessary in performing their official duties.

(b) Employees of certain public and private institutions: (1) State game departments, municipal game farms or parks, and public museums, public zoological parks, accredited institutional members of the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (AAZPA) and public scientific or educational institutions may acquire by gift or purchase, possess, transport, and by gift or sale dispose of lawfully acquired migratory birds or their progeny, parts, nests, or eggs without a permit: Provided, That such birds may be acquired only from persons authorized by this paragraph or by a permit issued pursuant to this part to possess and dispose of such birds, or from Federal or State game authorities by the gift of seized, condemned, or sick or injured birds. Any such birds, acquired without a permit, and any progeny therefrom may be disposed of only to persons authorized by this paragraph to acquire such birds without a permit. Any person exercising a privilege granted by this paragraph must keep accurate records of such operations showing the species and number of birds acquired, possessed, and disposed of; the names and addresses of the persons from whom such birds were acquired or to whom such birds were donated or sold; and the dates of such transactions. Records shall be maintained or reproducible in English on a calendar year basis and shall be retained for a period of five (5) years following the end of the calendar year covered by the records.

(2) Employees of Federal, State, and local wildlife and land management agencies; employees of Federal, State, and local public health agencies; and laboratories under contract to such agencies may in the course of official business collect, possess, transport, and dispose of sick or dead migratory birds or their parts for analysis to confirm the presence of infectious disease. Nothing in this paragraph authorizes the take of uninjured or healthy birds without prior authorization from the Service. Additionally, nothing in this paragraph authorizes the taking, collection, or possession of migratory birds when circumstances indicate reasonable probability that death, injury, or disability was caused by factors other than infectious disease and/or natural toxins. These factors may include, but are not limited to, oil or chemical contamination, electrocution, shooting, or pesticides. If the cause of death of a bird is determined to be other than natural causes or disease, Service law enforcement officials must be contacted without delay.

(c) Licensed veterinarians: Licensed veterinarians are not required to obtain a Federal migratory bird permit to temporarily possess, stabilize, or euthanize sick and injured migratory birds. However, a veterinarian without a migratory bird rehabilitation permit must transfer any such bird to a federally permitted migratory bird rehabilitator within 24 hours after the bird's condition is stabilized, unless the bird is euthanized. If a veterinarian is unable to locate a permitted rehabilitator within that time, the veterinarian must contact his or her Regional Migratory Bird Permit Office for assistance in locating a permitted migratory bird rehabilitator and/or to obtain authorization to continue to hold the bird. In addition, veterinarians must:

(1) Notify the local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services Office immediately upon receiving a threatened or endangered migratory bird species. Contact information for Ecological Services offices can be located on the Internet at http://offices.fws.gov;

(2) Euthanize migratory birds as required by § 21.76(e)(4)(iii) and § 21.76(e)(4)(iv), and dispose of dead migratory birds in accordance with § 21.76(e)(4)(vi); and

(3) Keep records for 5 years of all migratory birds that die while in their care, including those they euthanize. The records must include: the species of bird, the type of injury, the date of acquisition, the date of death, and whether the bird was euthanized.

(d) General public: Any person may remove a migratory bird from the interior of a building or structure under certain conditions.

(1) You may humanely remove a trapped migratory bird from the interior of a residence or a commercial or government building without a Federal permit if the migratory bird:

(i) Poses a health threat (for example, through damage to foodstuffs);

(ii) Is attacking humans, or poses a threat to human safety because of its activities (such as opening and closing automatic doors);

(iii) Poses a threat to commercial interests, such as through damage to products for sale; or

(iv) May injure itself because it is trapped.

(2) You must use a humane method to capture the bird or birds. You may not use adhesive traps to which birds may adhere (such as glue traps) or any other method of capture likely to harm the bird.

(3) Unless you have a permit that allows you to conduct abatement activities with a raptor, you may not release a raptor into a building to either frighten or capture another bird.

(4) You must immediately release a captured bird to the wild in habitat suitable for the species, unless it is exhausted, ill, injured, or orphaned.

(5) If a bird is exhausted or ill, or is injured or orphaned during the removal, the property owner is responsible for immediately transferring it to a federally permitted migratory bird rehabilitator.

(6) You may not lethally take a migratory bird for these purposes. If your actions to remove the trapped migratory bird are likely to result in its lethal take, you must possess a Federal Migratory Bird Permit. However, if a bird you are trying to remove dies, you must dispose of the carcass immediately unless you have reason to believe that a museum or scientific institution might be able to use it. In that case, you should contact your nearest Fish and Wildlife Service office or your State wildlife agency about donating the carcass.

(7) For birds of species on the Federal List of Threatened or Endangered Wildlife, provided at 50 CFR 17.11(h), you may need a Federal threatened or endangered species permit before removing the birds (see 50 CFR 17.21 and 50 CFR 17.31).

(8) You must have a permit from your Regional migratory bird permits office to remove a bald eagle or a golden eagle from a building (see 50 CFR Part 22).

(9) Your action must comply with State and local regulations and ordinances. You may need a State, Tribal, or Territorial permit before you can legally remove the bird or birds.

(10) If an active nest with eggs or nestlings is present, you must seek the assistance of a federally permitted migratory bird rehabilitator in removing the eggs or nestlings. The rehabilitator is then responsible for handling them properly.

(11) If you need advice on dealing with a trapped bird, you should contact your closest Fish and Wildlife Service office or your State wildlife agency.

[39 FR 1178, Jan. 4, 1974, as amended at 50 FR 8638, Mar. 4, 1985; 54 FR 38151, Sept. 14, 1989; 68 FR 61137, Oct. 27, 2003; 72 FR 56928, Oct. 5, 2007; 87 FR 881, Jan. 7, 2022]

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