[Tweeters] Re: Shooting Blackbirds-- legal or not??

Scott Downes downess at charter.net
Tue Jul 7 21:48:29 PDT 2015

Wayne and Tweeters,
Per the USFWS MBTA, blackbirds are covered as they are listed in the
protected species list:

However, MBTA also has a provision for blackbirds in certain occasions. The
provision covering blackbirds are: "A federal permit shall not be required
to control yellow-headed, red-winged, rusty, and Brewer's blackbirds,
cowbirds, all grackles, crows, and magpies when found committing or about to
commit depredations upon ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops,
livestock, or wildlife, or when concentrated in such numbers and manner as
to constitute a health hazard or other nuisance..."

So, the group is covered, but they are also subject to an exception. The
situation described of the blackbird in the previous Tweeters email would be
a stretch to apply it to that exception, but the exception is vague and open
to interpretation.

Scott Downes
downess at charter.net
Yakima WA

-----Original Message-----
From: Wayne Weber
Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 2015 8:50 PM
Subject: Shooting Blackbirds-- legal or not??

Scott and Tweeters,

Just as a point of fact, most (perhaps all) species of blackbirds ARE NOT
protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They were excluded from the
treaty when it was signed between the U.S. and Canada, for the very good
reason that several blackbird species are often responsible for serious crop

HOWEVER-- most species of native birds which are not protected under the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act are protected under state legislation in the U.S.,
or provincial legislation in Canada. I'm sure that blackbirds are protected
under state legislation in WA, but I'm also sure that blackbirds (and some
other bird species) can be killed when and where they are causing
significant crop damage. The sticker is that anyone planning to kill them
would need at least a permit from the state to kill them. So, Scott is
correct that people cannot kill them without a permit, but incorrect to say
that they are protected by the MBTA.

In British Columbia, whose laws I am more familiar with than those of
Washington, there are only 6 species of birds which can be killed at any
time without a permit, none of which is a blackbird. The list is: American
Crow, Northwestern Crow, Black-billed Magpie, House Sparrow, Rock Pigeon,
and European Starling. I suspect that the situation is somewhat similar in
Washington, but it would be helpful if someone who works for the state could
provide the relevant information for WA.

Wayne C. Weber
Delta, BC
contopus at telus.net
(Former Wildlife Damage Specialist, BC Ministry of Agriculture)

-----Original Message-----
From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Scott
Sent: July-07-15 6:12 PM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Tweeters] Crested Caracara

An opinion on my end. People should practice good ethical behavior while
viewing, but it seems that has been the case for the caracara. I am a firm
believer that sometimes we are a bit too meek in our actions. That makes us
a nice group to get along with but also allows us to be pushed around. If we
were to worry about our viewing upsetting other people, we would stay away
from many areas where hunters, land owners and others are annoyed by
birders. Many groups are annoying and I doubt they just go away so quickly.
Perhaps I'm missing something but I fail to see how standing quietly along a
public road is disturbing the bird any more than groups of birders disturb
birds at birding festivals, field trips etc..

The homeowners I chatted with couldn't have been more thrilled to have us,
even offering to let us use their yard. It seems the real issue is an odd
landowner and we should try to not make the situation more strained than it
is already, but to suggest that birders are the cause of this isn't based in
fact from what I've seen posted.

As for the poster who mentioned the landowner could shoot the blackbird, no
they can't. Most native birds are protected under MBTA and it is illegal to
shoot them.

Scott Downes
Downess at charter.net
Yakima Wa

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