An Aviculture permit allows its holder to;
- buy, sell, exchange, give or have in their possession live migratory birds or their eggs for avicultural purposes
- deposit bait to feed migratory birds that are bought, sold, exchanged, captured or possessed under the permit; and
- kill migratory birds that they possess under the permit for the purpose of human consumption but not for sale or any other purpose
Application and report forms
- Instruction sheet
- Aviculture permit application form
- Aviculture permit report form
- Aviculture permit transaction record form
The service standard for Aviculture permit applications is that 90% of decisions are made within 35 calendar days.
Aviculture permits require a $10 application fee. They are valid until the expiration date stated on the permit, or, if no date is indicated, on December 31 of the year in which it was issued.
Submit Aviculture permit applications to the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) office in the region where the activity will take place. Contact information for regional CWS offices is found below.
Who can apply
Aviculture permit applicants must possess some knowledge of and/or experience caring for birds. This information or a description of where the knowledge or experience has been obtained must be included in the application. This can include experience with birds in animal husbandry (e.g. through farming) or working with an experienced aviculturist or current aviculture permit holder.
Species of birds that can be held under an Aviculture permit
Aviculture permit holders may only hold migratory bird species listed as migratory game birds under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA). Only these species will be authorized to be held under Aviculture permits. In addition, the permit holder may only hold migratory game birds for which there is an active hunting season in Canada.
Birds that may not be held by an Aviculture permit holder:
- species for which there is no hunting season in Canada
- migratory game birds where hunting is limited to certain subspecies of the family
- species that are listed under the Species At Risk Act
Most non-native species are not protected by the MBCA, and cannot be authorized to be kept by an Aviculture permit holder. To confirm if a migratory game bird is protected by the MBCA, you should refer to this web page: Birds protected in Canada.
Migratory game birds and their eggs may only be transferred (i.e. bought, sold, exchanged or given) between Aviculture permit holders. Migratory birds possessed under an Aviculture permit may only be killed for the purpose of human consumption. Aviculture permit holders must also keep records of:
- all dealings of migratory birds and eggs, including full name, contact information and the permit number of the person with whom they engaged in any transaction, exchange, loan or gift
- the number and species of migratory birds and eggs in their possession at all times
Aviculture permit holders are prohibited from releasing into the wild any migratory bird that they possess unless explicitly authorized.
The applicant must demonstrate that the migratory birds held under the permit will be kept in an enclosure or area from which they cannot escape and that seasonal shelter and water (including ponds for waterfowl and water birds) are accessible.
The size of the area and the type of housing or facility will vary with the type of species, age of the migratory birds, location, season, and whether the migratory birds have been rendered flightless by wing-clipping, pinioning or having undergone a tenectomy (i.e. the severance of tendons in the wing). If the birds have not been rendered flightless, they must be kept in a complete enclosure that has a top to prevent them from escaping. All birds must have access to seasonal shelter with dry bedding for protection from the cold winter weather.
Unauthorized and/or accidental releases of captive birds can be harmful to wild populations. To be considered for an Aviculture permit, applicants must demonstrate that the migratory birds kept under the permit will be controlled and kept in an appropriate facility. The birds must be:
- kept in a total enclosure (with a top) , if they have not been pinioned, wing-clipped or have not undergone a tenectomy procedure; or
- kept in a enclosure (with or without a top) and wing clipped, or
- kept in a enclosure (with or without a top) and pinioned; or
- kept in a enclosure (with or without a top) and birds have undergone a tenectomy
The method used will depend on the species and on the intentions of the Aviculture permit holder. For example, Wood Ducks are commonly kept fully feathered for shows, therefore must be kept confined in a total enclosure (an area or pen fenced on all sides, including the top) to prevent escape.
Animal holding facilities must be separate from human living and recreation areas. An inspection may be required before a permit can be issued.
Reporting and record keeping requirements
Every Aviculture permit holder must keep records and submit an annual report stating the following information:
- the number of migratory birds of each species they reared during that calendar year
- the number of migratory birds of each species they killed during that calendar year
- the number of live migratory birds of each species and the number of eggs of each species they sold during that calendar year together with the full name and contact information and the permit number of each person to whom those birds or eggs were sold
- the number of live migratory birds of each species and the number of eggs of each species they purchased during that calendar year together full name and contact information and the permit number of each person from whom those birds or eggs were purchased
- the number of live migratory birds of each species and the number of eggs of each species they gave during that calendar year together with the full name and contact information and the permit number of each person to whom those birds or eggs were given
- the number of live migratory birds of each species and the number of eggs of each species in their possession at the end of that calendar year, and
- any other information described in the permit
The annual report must be submitted to the regional CWS office on or before January 31st of the year following each calendar year in which they held a permit.
Contact information for Canadian Wildlife Service offices (by region)
New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island
17 Waterfowl Lane
P.O. Box 6227
Sackville, NB E4L 1G6
801-1550 Avenue d'Estimauville
Quebec, QC G1J 0C3
335 River Road
Ottawa, ON K1V 1C7
Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba
115 Perimeter Road
Saskatoon, SK S7N 0X4
60 Front Street L3
Nanaimo, BC V9R 5H7
Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon
PO Box 1870
Suite 301, 933 Mivvik St.
Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0
- Note to all applicants: Service standards for migratory bird permits can be found online. Please note that when incomplete applications are received, Environment and Climate Change Canada will notify the applicant and the time limit will be “paused” or “suspended” until all the missing information is received
- It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact the appropriate provincial/territorial wildlife agency and municipal office for information about possible additional permits required for the planned activity
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