Is Bird Nest Removal Legal?

When you’re sitting at home in front of your living room window, it’s quite peaceful, and even calming, to watch a mother bird tend to her baby birds in the tree in your front yard. However, it’s not so calming to watch when birds build nests in unfavorable locations in and around your home. When this happens, your first instinct is to immediately remove the nests, due to it being in an unsafe location for the birds or an unsuitable location for your liking. Before you go to remove a bird’s nest from your property, make sure you have a clear understanding of the local laws in your area in regards to wildlife removal.

What many don’t realize is that most birds are protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This law was enacted in 1918 to prohibit the commercial trading of exotic bird feathers. Fast forward to today, the law now protects the nesting territories and habitats of most breeding birds found in the US.

So what is this law really stating?

The law is stating that it is illegal to kill or endanger a migratory bird. It’s also illegal to touch or remove the nest of a bird that’s protected by this law. If you do, you must possess a special permit.

Which Species of Birds are Protected by Law and Which Ones Aren’t?

Well, most species of birds are protected by law, which means if you’re seeing bird nests in or around your home, they’re likely protected, and any kind of tampering with their nest can lead to hefty fines and penalties. Take a look at the California tree trimmer Ernesto Pulido, for example.

Actual Case

In 2014, Ernesto Pulido was charged with a misdemeanor for violating the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act when he trimmed several trees with birds’ nests in them for the U.S. Postal Service. The trees on the USPS property contained black-crowned night herons and egrets – native birds that fall under the protection of the federal government. Because of Pulido’s tree trimming services, five birds suffered bruises and fractures.

Results from Case

Pulido incurred a $15,000 fine with up to six months in federal prison. His penalties were reduced because he expressed sincere remorse for what he’d done and vowed to pay nearly $3,000 in care costs for the injured birds. That’s quite the price to pay for removing birds’ nests.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Rule?

Though most birds are protected, all aren’t. In the US, it’s illegal to remove, alter, or destroy a native bird’s nest (if the nest has eggs in it or has brooding adult birds in it). However, if the nest is abandoned or has no eggs in it, the nest can indeed be removed or destroyed. Now, European starlings and house sparrows are two species of invasive birds that are not protected by law at any point in time. You, of course, will want to check your local laws to see which bird species are protected in your area and which species aren’t. Before attempting nest removal or any type of tampering, you want to be able to properly identify the species of birds you’re dealing with.

For the most part, the best time to remove birds’ nests is when nesting season is over and birds have permanently left the nest, but birds tend to build nests in unsafe locations for both you and them. Unsafe locations include the following areas:

  • Inside an active chimney
  • Inside a grill
  • Near doors and entryways where people frequent
  • Gutters and drain pipes
  • Dryer vents

If you’ve found that birds have built nests in these areas, you want to remove their nests and put measures in place to discourage them from building there again. Things like spikes or a fake cat or snake can give birds the illusion that the particular nesting area isn’t safe.

Safe and Legal Bird Nest Removal Services

Removing bird nests is truly something that should be left to professionals. Not only can birds’ nests be built in locations at dangerous heights but depending on the species of birds nesting in or around your property, if you get too close, the bird can attempt to attack you out of trying to protect their young. Without the proper tools, gear, and equipment, attempting a job like this on your own can prove to be very dangerous.

For safe and effective removal of troublesome and invasive birds, only Complete Animal Removal will get the job done right for you without the risk of breaking any laws. By understanding the laws behind proper nest removal, you’ll be able to go about removal safely on your own. However, if you’re unsure of what species of birds are nesting on your property. It’s always going to be best to turn to professional bird nest removal service providers. Call to get your quote today.