Yesterday, my lovely coworker (and friend from childhood!) @jenrote13
found this little Magnolia Warbler dead on the sidewalk. Please note that it is being donated to the @naturemuseum
for research purposes. I thought this instance would be a great opportunity to drop some knowledge.
Firstly, it is a federal crime to possess any part of any migratory bird in the United States without the proper permits. This means you cannot collect feathers, skulls, taxidermy, etc. from any migratory bird. Exceptions are invasive species: starlings, pigeons, house sparrows. Crows may be possessed in certain circumstances and game birds can also be hunted (with a license) and possessed, but not sold. Violations of this federal law, called the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, can result in hefty fines and jail time.
Right now it’s migration season, which means that birds are flying through terrain that they’re not used to. As birds migrate, they might be passing through your city or town. As you can imagine, some birds that are used to living in forests may become confused by glass buildings, fly into them for one reason or another, and die upon impact. This is where you come in!
If you find a deceased migratory bird, wrap it in plastic and freeze it with a note inside the bag containing your name, where you found the bird, and the date. Then, contact local nature centers, museums, and universities until you find one with federal bird accreditations. Donate your bird to them! Allowing scientists to study birds during their migration helps answer questions about population, health issues, migration patterns, and more.
If you have any respect for animals, you will recognize that rare birds are not a jewel to keep in your collection and a donation to scientific research will create enrichment for all. If you have no taxidermy experience, you’ll ruin the bird anyway! Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and realize that in the greater scheme of things, our desire to own something beautiful is not nearly as important as conserving nature.
So with that being said, DONATE dead birds you find so that science can help conserve living bird populations!