can i kill birds in my backyard

For as small as they are, our feathered friends can cause a lot of damage when gathered in masses. If you’ve had problems with them creating holes on the side of your house, you may wonder “can I shoot birds in my backyard”?

Or maybe you’re a hunter and want to get a pheasant or wild turkey for the table. You may think that it’s pretty convenient for them to show up on your property.

Unfortunately, the short answer to the question is that it depends. A lot of factors muddy the waters that make it less than a cut-and-dry explanation.

This op-ed was originally published by Newsweek. The Trump administration and some members of Congress are ready to give oil and gas companies and other industries a free pass to kill birds with impunity by gutting the nation’s most effective bird protection law—a law that has been on the books for a century.

Removing the nation’s oldest bird conservation law’s protection for birds would go against decades of bipartisan Republican and Democratic support. If the Interior Department and legislative proposals written by Wyoming GOP Representative decapitate the law Liz Cheney, there will be a great risk to millions of our most recognizable and cherished birds.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the official name for the bird protection legislation, is more crucial than ever. By outlawing the killing or injury of any birds not covered by permits, it safeguards over a thousand different species of birds.

Oil pits, gas flares from drilling, oil spills, power lines, communication towers, incorrectly positioned wind turbines and solar arrays, and other deadly but preventable hazards are the modern industrial threat to birds instead of the trade in fancy feathers.

They’re not onerous; they’ve proven to be a helpful incentive to remind companies to do the right thing for wildlife. The law is good for both birds and industry innovation. A number of good actors— a coalition of power and utility companies —have come together to identify best practices for preventing bird deaths. That has led to the increased use of bird-safe, money-saving technologies.

Protection for Native Birds

Up until 1918, it was open season for birds. Although there was food hunting, the emerging fashion industry recognized an opportunity: feathers Before groups and individuals committed to environmental conservation pushed for their protection, species like the great white egret were almost exterminated.

Help arrived with the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) between the United States and Canada in 1918. This legislation made it illegal to harm birds or possess any parts including feathers and nests.

There have been several amendments and additional countries added throughout the years. One of the last provisions bumped up the fine to $15,000.

Other nations that have signed on to the treaty include:

Most likely, “Are all birds covered by the act?” will be your next query.

The keyword is native. That means at least three birds do not have the protection of the law on their sides.

Species that are not included are:

  • House Sparrows
  • Pigeons
  • Mute Swans
  • European Starlings

The law also addresses the question of hunting upland game birds like turkeys and the American woodcock which are not protected by this law.


Can you shoot house sparrows?

NOTE: Because House Sparrows are considered a nuisance, invasive species, they are not protected under federal law. State and local laws may vary, so check them first. Nests and eggs may be destroyed, and young and adults may be humanely euthanized under federal law.

Is it illegal to kill a songbird?

Protected birds – Federal law prohibits the killing of non-game migratory birds. Protected birds that you may encounter while dove hunting include songbirds, eagles, hawks, owls, vultures, killdeer, nighthawks, herons, egrets, and woodpeckers.

Can you shoot crows in Wisconsin?

Legal status in Wisconsin: Crows are a federally protected migratory bird (under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act). In Wisconsin crows can be hunted during their regulated hunting season.

Will a pellet gun kill a goose?

Use a 12-bore (12 gauge to those in the US) magnum, preferably loaded with BB. I live in Scotland and I have a double barrelled 8-bore. I load bismuth (which is better than steel – heavier) BB and that takes down a goose cleanly and with an instant kill.