I suspect the laws governing the possession of feathers must have a long list of itemized applications, exceptions, and amendments. For instance, it's wholly legal for people to have mounted (migratory) ducks on their walls, but it very unlawful to purchase (or sell) many other species that might be mounted such as thrushes, owls, etc. As Ian has mentioned, permits for educational, research, and other purposes and institutions must somehow be determined as well. It would be interesting to look up the laws and sift through the legalese.
Kaye in Hinesburg
On Sep 25, 2013, at 8:31 AM, Ian A. Worley wrote:
> Also .......
> Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that the principal law (the Migratory Bird Treaty Act [16U.S.C. 703-712]) applies only to migrant birds. About 17% of bird species are not migratory, and so that law does not apply to them. Endangered species laws, both state and federal, would have there own individual statement, policy, or practice, about possession of feathers. And perhaps there are other laws at federal, state, and possibly even local levels. Under any of these laws there would be the possibility to be granted a permit for a variety of kinds of activities (e.g. banding, research, education display, zoos and aviaries, etc.).
> I haven't checked to see if there is a list of the non-migratory birds.
> Certainly as an educator I agree with the common sense principles being voiced. Of course, do be sensitive to certain species which might be exceptionally rare, have native American cultural meaning, are non-native, or are commonly poached for commercial or personal reasons, for example.
> On 9/25/2013 8:00 AM, Michael Blust wrote:
>> Technically, yes, it is against the law. Realistically, the law is there
>> to provide a tool to use against those who are killing or injuring birds in
>> order to obtain the feathers. I agree with Mitch. There is something
>> inherently wrong with a law that limits the ability of people, especially
>> children, to enjoy one of the marvels of nature. That is not the intent of
>> the law. The feds are not going to chase down nature lovers who pick up a
>> feather or two to bring home. When I taught ornithology, I told my
>> students quite clearly that it was against the law. I told them the
>> history and the reasons for the law. Then I told them to make their own
>> *Michael H. Blust*
>> Peace Corps Volunteer, Mexico
>> Green Mountain College
>> On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 6:23 AM, Mitchell Harrison <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>> I pick-up feathers and I use them to engage and teach my students and
>>> daughter. Fostering wonder in young people is an important aspect of
>>> preserving what we love into the future. Let's use common sense folks.
>>> Send the feds to get me if you must.
>>> Mitch Harrison
>>> From: Martha McClintock <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Sent: Monday, September 23, 2013 9:48 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] Feather Atlas: useful link
>>> I said that I appreciate all the information that I get from the
>>> knowledgeable birders on VtBird and I got some info as a result of today's
>>> post. Apparently, when I brought home five feathers that I found when
>>> walking in the woods this summer, I have broken federal law. Please be
>>> assured that the five feathers have already been returned to the woods
>>> (although not necessarily in the place where they were found) as I like to
>>> think of myself as a law abiding person. My apologies and thanks,Sue, or
>>> letting me know.
>>> With embarrassment,
>>> On Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 8:27 AM, Martha McClintock
>>> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>>> I enjoy the links, birding sites, and articles suggested by VtBirders and
>>>> hope that someone will enjoy knowing about this site as well.
>>>> As I walk and enjoy all things outdoors (including birds!), I
>>>> see a lost feather and have been collecting the interesting ones I have
>>>> found. A website at http://www.fws.gov/lab/featheratlas/ is very
>>>> for identifying the feathers. Yesterday, I found a very handsome ruffed
>>>> grouse tail feather that I could identify using the Feather Atlas.