MBTA Permit Glossary: Key Terms & Definitions for Developers and Consultants

MBTA Permit Key Terms & Definitions

Barter: To exchange migratory birds, their parts, nests, or eggs for other goods or services, as prohibited under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) unless authorized by a valid permit. (16 U.S.C. § 703(a))

Falconry: The practice of hunting wild quarry using a trained bird of prey, such as a hawk or falcon. The MBTA provides for the issuance of falconry permits to authorize the possession and use of raptors for this purpose. (50 C.F.R. § 21.29)

Incidental Take: The unintentional taking of migratory birds, their nests, or eggs that results from an activity, but is not the purpose of that activity. The MBTA's prohibition on taking has been interpreted to apply to both intentional and incidental take. (50 C.F.R. § 10.12)

Migratory Bird: Any bird species that is native to the United States or its territories and belongs to a family, group, or species covered by the MBTA. The Act protects over 1,000 species, including songbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, and raptors. (16 U.S.C. § 703(b))

Migratory Bird Conservation Plan: A document that outlines the steps a permittee will take to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts on migratory birds throughout a project's lifecycle. The plan is often a requirement of MBTA permits for activities that may result in take. (50 C.F.R. § 21.27(b)(7))

Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA): A federal law that implements conventions between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Russia for the protection of migratory birds. The MBTA prohibits the take, possession, import, export, transport, sale, purchase, barter, or offering for sale, purchase, or barter, of any migratory bird, or their parts, nests, or eggs, except as authorized under a valid permit. (16 U.S.C. §§ 703-712)

Nest: Any structure or site, natural or man-made, that is used by a migratory bird for sheltering or rearing young during the breeding season. The MBTA prohibits the take or destruction of nests, except as authorized under a valid permit. (50 C.F.R. § 10.12)

Possession: To hold, keep, or detain a migratory bird, or its parts, nests, or eggs, whether physically or through constructive possession (i.e., the power and intent to control the item). The MBTA prohibits possession of these items unless authorized by a valid permit. (16 U.S.C. § 703(a))

Raptor: A bird of prey, such as a hawk, eagle, falcon, or owl. The MBTA provides for the issuance of permits for the take, possession, and use of raptors for falconry, propagation, and other authorized purposes. (50 C.F.R. § 21.29, 21.30)

Raptor Propagation Permit: An MBTA permit that authorizes the captive breeding of raptors for conservation, education, or falconry purposes. Permittees must comply with specific requirements for the care, housing, and management of the breeding stock and offspring. (50 C.F.R. § 21.30)

Scientific Collecting Permit: An MBTA permit that authorizes the capture, handling, and collection of migratory birds, their parts, nests, or eggs for scientific research or educational purposes. Permittees must provide a detailed research proposal and comply with reporting and specimen disposition requirements. (50 C.F.R. § 21.23)

Take: To pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect a migratory bird, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. The MBTA prohibits the take of migratory birds, their nests, and eggs, except as authorized under a valid permit. (50 C.F.R. § 10.12)

Transport: To ship, convey, carry, or deliver a migratory bird, or its parts, nests, or eggs, through any means, including by vehicle, aircraft, or vessel. The MBTA prohibits the transport of these items unless authorized by a valid permit. (16 U.S.C. § 703(a))

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS): The federal agency within the Department of the Interior that administers the MBTA and its permit program. The USFWS is responsible for reviewing permit applications, issuing permits, and enforcing compliance with permit conditions and the Act's prohibitions. (16 U.S.C. § 704)

Keep up with the latest

A Note to Our Readers: We hope this guide is a valuable resource in helping you better understand the . However, it's not a substitute for professional advice and doesn't cover every scenario. Always consult with regulatory bodies and professionals for the most current advice and project-specific guidance.