Migratory Birds Convention Act: frequently asked questions

Why are some migratory bird species protected under provincial and territorial legislation instead of the Migratory Birds Convention Act?

In 1916, when the convention was signed, it only protected migratory birds considered either useful or harmless to humans. At that time, there were several species of migratory birds which were excluded due to their “undesirability” to humans. For example, pelicans, cormorants, hawks and owls were once considered pests and so were unprotected. These birds have since been recognized for their importance to both humans and the environment and have become protected under provincial and territorial legislation.

Can I take an American Robin that died from natural causes to a taxidermist for mounting and then keep it at home?

No. Migratory insect-eating birds such as the American Robin are protected in Canada under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. You are not allowed to possess the bird unless you have a valid federal permit. Permits may be issued to possess mounted birds for educational purposes.

During the closed season, may I use a shotgun to scare geese away from my crops?

No. You need a scare permit to use firearms to drive away migratory birds which are damaging crops. Scare permits may be issued for birds causing damage or danger.

Do I need a permit to keep wild migratory game birds such as ducks and geese in captivity?

Yes. You need an avicultural permit to possess live migratory game birds. Avicultural permits may be issued if certain requirements are met.

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