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Guide to legal and illegal feathers in the USA


Gyr Falcon wing feathers. Illegal to have unless you have permission to keep them for falconry.

I pay special attention to the legal requirements of possessing feathers since I sell feather art. Many people tell me about their small feather collections so I thought I’d share a rough guide to what feathers you can have in the USA.

You can have:

1. Feathers from most birds that are not native to North America.  European Starlings, House Sparrows, Eurasian Collared Doves, and Ring-neck Pheasants are not native to North America. Also, think feathers of peacocks, many parrots, most of the 55 species of pheasants, and small songbirds like zebra finches that are kept in cages. The biggest exceptions to this are the restrictions on having feathers of any bird in the world that is critically endangered.

2. Feathers from most wild duck and geese you can’t sell, except for mallards. You can sell other kinds of duck feathers if it is for fly tying for fishing.

3. Upland birds that people hunt—like turkey, grouse, and pheasant. Each state can have more restrictive laws, like in Washington State the Sharp-tailed Grouse is threatened so you can’t have those feathers unless you show it came from another state where hunting is permitted.

You can’t have:

1. Feathers from almost all other birds in my country—not eagles of course, but also not seagull feathers, songbird feathers, or crow feathers.

2. Feathers from many birds from other countries that are critically endangered.

Though all birds naturally shed their feathers about once a year, you’re not legally supposed to have most of them. A law called the (U.S.) North American Migratory Bird Act was made a long time ago when people were killing too many birds to use for fashionable hats. It’s a broad-brush law intended to protect birds.  It doesn’t recognize the difference between plucked feathers, shed feathers, or bird skins; you can’t have any of it. If a feather was pulled from a dead bird that you found at the side of the road or the beach, how does someone know that the bird wasn’t killed on purpose just for the feathers? It can sometimes seem silly but it is a matter of reasonable enforcement, like speeding law enforcement on the highway.

I try to be familiar with the laws but I’m not the person to go to for the final word in the USA–this page of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the place for the that. The law is explained and they have an alphabetically arranged list of protected birds. And here is a link to lists of earth’s endangered species; click Cites Appendices.

Here is another link that discusses when you can have feathers from parrots from other countries that are critically endangered in those countries but because they are commonly kept in aviaries in the USA, it is ok to have their feathers in the USA.  See more detail about this at the American Federation of Aviculture’s website.


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  1. Posted December 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing the info on feathers. You may want to make a correction in he paragraph about feathers you can have. House Finches are a native species so you can’t have those feathers, I think you may have meant to say House Spartows, as they are non-natives.

    • Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      Yes, you are right, I meant house sparrows.

      • Robert Ellis
        Posted August 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Can feathers purchased on the internet from other countries such as England be done and expect delivery without any problems from customs and still be legal to own here? I’m thinking of the English Magpie which is legal over there but questionable here. Robert Ellis

    • Kai
      Posted September 24, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      So according to this you could have falcon or hawk feathers that aren’t native to the USA?

      • Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Just that those non-north american bird feathers are not covered as against the law of the Migratory Bird Act.

  2. Nichole
    Posted February 16, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    What if you find seagull bones from an already dead seagull on your property? I’m currently visiting my beach house and there’s feathers around a some bones that appear to be those of a seagull. If I don’t sell the bones and keep them in my personal collection, would that be illegal?

    • Posted April 23, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Technically, they are illegal.

    • arborealTraveller
      Posted October 2, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      They are illegal to own. If you have a scientific/educational collection, or if you do taxidermy, you might be able to apply for a salvage license with special permission for certain species, but you will (as I recall) be unable to profit from the remains.

  3. Dennis
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this post.. I am a fly fisherman who ties his own flies and have always wondered about what was illegal and what was legal. I would love to try and tie a fly with a flamingo feather..But now I see that this is probably illegal too. I will continue to look and educate myself on this topic. Thanks again for your insights.

    • Diane
      Posted June 18, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      I am under the impression that flamingos are a non-native species and are fine for ties along with parrot feathers. Alert me otherwise.

      • Posted July 21, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        American, lesser and greater flamingo feathers are a no no under USA laws. But Chilean flamingo feathers are ok to use as I understand.

    • Posted July 21, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Most species of Flamingo feathers are not ok to use in the USA but as I am informed, Chilean flamingo feathers are.

  4. Jessica
    Posted July 4, 2015 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    It’s been difficult for me to understand about crow feathers.. Here in alabama, it’s open season on crow all year long, you can legally kill them but why am i not allowed to posses the feathers? It doesn’t make since to me

    • Posted July 21, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Crows are grouped into the category of migratory birds, all are protected. They sometimes allow killing of birds considered “pests” and crows are, in many states, killed to protect agricultural interests–sometimes under the auspices of sport. It is the same in my state.

      • Melissa Carroll
        Posted September 14, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Crows in California are a big time no no to kill. Get caught killing them in the Mojave Desert for attacking your ankle biter dog and it is a 280.00 fine and 60 days in jail on top of community service this was back 10 years ago too. And they are mean as heck they are not as bad as a rooster at 4am but they are second for pain in the butt they make huge messes scavenging.

        • Nick
          Posted October 20, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          Please don’t spread misinformation. There is a hunting season for crows in California. You can kill 24 a day.

          §485. American Crow.
          (a) Shotgun, Falconry, and Archery Seasons, and Bag and Possession Limits.
          (1) Season: The first Saturday in December and extending for 124 consecutive days.
          (2) Daily Bag and Possession Limits
          Bag Limit: 24 crows per day
          Possession Limit: double the daily bag limit
          (3) Area: Statewide: see closure area (d) below
          (b) Crows may only be taken by shotguns 10 gauge or smaller using shot shells only and incapable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined, bow and arrow, and falconry. The take or attempted take of any crows with a firearm shall be in accordance with the use of nonlead projectiles adn ammunition pursuant to Section 250.1, Crows may not be hunted from aircraft.
          (c) No person shall kill or cripple a crow pursuant to this section without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird, and retain it in their actual custody at the place where taken or between that place and either: (1) their automobile or principal means of land transportation; or (2) their personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging; or (3) a migratory bird preservation facility; or (4) a post office; or (5) a common carrier facility.
          (d) Crows may not be taken in the following areas:
          (1) Within the boundaries of the Trinity and Mendocino National Forests south of Highway 36.
          (2) North and east of a line beginning at the mouth of the Eel River; south along the Eel River to the town of Alton; east on Highway 36 from the town of Alton to Highway 89 west of Chester; south and east on Highways 89 and 395 to Interstate 15 near Hesperia; south on Interstate 15 to Interstate 10; and east on Interstate 10 to the California-Arizona border.
          (e) See Section 472(d) for the take of American crows causing depredation.

          • Posted October 20, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            You cannot sell U.S. crow feathers. And with a few exceptions, like legally hunted birds and scientific collecting permits, you cannot have them.

  5. Bryana
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the information about feathers it was really important to me because recently I am studying birds and nature at my Indian summer camp and this information will come in handy on tests.

  6. Kim
    Posted July 12, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Just curious, as I am just starting to read up on feathers and wanting to do some crafts to sell…. Anyway, whay are crow feathers illegal?

    • Posted July 21, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Crows are grouped into the category of migratory birds, all are protected. They sometimes allow killing of birds considered “pests” and crows are, in many states, killed to protect agricultural interests–sometimes under the auspices of sport.

      • Gertie
        Posted February 19, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Hi how about crow feathers that are from another country, like UK?

  7. Dawn
    Posted July 30, 2015 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Do you know if parakeet feathers are ok to have & sell?

    • Posted August 10, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Dawn, the feathers of parakeets that are sold in pet stores are legal to have and sell.

  8. Karla
    Posted August 13, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I am Indian only part Indian and I make dream catchers am I not allowed to use native feathers in these native designed dream catchers ? Is there place where I can order “legal” feathers if I am not? Also I do not live on areservation or get paid the big bucks for being native! I am only part Indian.

    • Posted September 1, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      You can use feathers from many birds that are not from this continent — like parrots feathers from pet owners and aviary pheasant feathers.

    • Small chicken dancer
      Posted October 5, 2015 at 5:57 am | Permalink

      If your are Inrolled in a tribe you can have sertant feathers but you can not sell them to someone who is not inrolled or does not have a tribe card

    • Jannette Valdez-Witt
      Posted June 24, 2016 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      If you have a tribal card you can use feathers of your choice, I was told this by fish and game while harvesting. I also may use feathers in regalia without penalty whether endangered or not…

      • Posted July 13, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        I’m not so sure…you’d have to talk to a knowledgeable person at US Fish and Wildlife about that.

  9. Neal Spalding
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Chris, been trying to find laws keeping woodpecker feathers and hadn’t found it yet. I live in Kentucky.

    • Posted September 1, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Hi Neal,
      No woodpeckers in Kentucky have feathers that are legal to have.


      • Meagan
        Posted February 26, 2016 at 12:10 am | Permalink

        While volunteering at a wildlife center in AL, I had to tell someone that fines for injuring or killing woodpeckers can be as high as $2,500. It is probably similar in Kentucky.

  10. Anne Webster
    Posted August 30, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I just bought this morning a collection of bird feathers for $8. I can’t identify them, but I might like to use them. Will I have to throw them in the garbage?

    • Posted September 1, 2015 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Anne, It completely depends on what kind of feathers they are. I mean, what kind of bird they are from. Chris

  11. David Rivas
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I live in a cabin with 5 acres on a mountain. Can I pick up a feather on my property from the forbidden list, like a condor, and bring it into my house?

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:45 am | Permalink

      Your cabin sounds nice. Not a good idea to bring condor feathers inside though.

  12. Mike
    Posted September 4, 2015 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Like…I am trying to figure the legality issue on Flamingo feathers…..Why are Chilean Flamingo feathers ok….what makes them so?

    We have salt pans in close vicinity and there are always reasonable flocks of flamingos present being a mix of greater and lesser types (problably several hundred at any given time throughout the year)Also present are numerous jackals that predate oportunisticaly on them….so you find bodies and bits thereof strewn pretty much all over the place……what would the rule be in picking up left overs?


    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:48 am | Permalink

      I have friends in Kenya who live on a large lake with a lot of flamingoes. They have offered feathers so I asked the US Fish and Wildlife people. They said the greater and lesser flamingo feathers were not legal tro bring into the country, but I really don’t know why, no did I learn why Chilean flamingo feathers are ok to have in the USA.

  13. Alison
    Posted September 12, 2015 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    What are you supposed to do with the feathers that land on your property?

  14. Noelle
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    How do you know it is ok to have/sell mallard feathers? They are on the protected list.

  15. Dennis Swat
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I have purchased a mans tie back in 1970 or so. It was purchased at a nationwide department store as a gift for my father. He has since passed away. It is a beautiful tie made of duck feathers. At least that is what was advertised at the time of purchase. It was purchased legally. How would I know if it BECAME illegal to own? Could it become illegal after I purchased it ? I wish there was a way I could display a picture of it. Confused?? Dennis

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:39 am | Permalink

      A lot of ducks are domestic and their feathers are legal to have. Mallards are hard to tell between wild and farm-raised so those are ok to have. Wild duck feathers are in most cases not legal to sell (except to fly tyers) but could be legal to have.

  16. Stefan
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Hej there,

    I have a question. I live in The Netherlands and I am coming to the United States in a while and a friend there asked me to bring some swan feathers that I found. Is is illegal for me to bring them to the States?

    Kind regards,

    Stefan Tim

    • Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:37 am | Permalink

      Hi Stefan,
      Feathers from mute swans are ok to have in the USA. Feathers from swans that live in north America, like tundra swans are not usually ok to have–even though they are hunted in some states. There may be other laws about bringing in feathers but that is what I know about having swan feathers in the USA.

  17. Tom
    Posted November 7, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Hi Chris,
    If I find crow feathers lying on the ground in an area where lots of them hang out, is it illegal for me to pick them up?


    • Posted December 29, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Is it illegal to drive a tiny fraction over the speed limit? The question of just picking up a feather that is not legal to possess, like a crow feather, makes me think of busy traffic enforcement police who would only stop you if you were going very slightly of the speed limit if they wanted to stop you for another reason but could use that as an excuse.

  18. Daniel
    Posted November 11, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    The list on this “guide is not complete, and the “I think” just turns me off. It is much simpler to go to USFW website where they have COMPLETE lists of species that are illegal and illegal to own.


    • Posted November 30, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      I agree, it is not complete. just a start. I am not the go to final expert, just wrote about it once. Thank you for the reference, mentioned in the original blog.

  19. Alexis B
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    We live in Southern California in the eastern part of San Diego. We have California Quails all over our 4.5 acres of property. I love watching and listening to them. They’re very entertaining. Unfortunately we have a lot of coyotes out here, and from time to time I find piles of feathers where it appears the coyotes got one. There’s never any bones or other parts left behind. Is it legal for me to pick up their feathers that I find on our property?

    • Posted November 30, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Since California quail is hunted legally, it is ok to also have their lovely feathers.

  20. K.C
    Posted November 27, 2015 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Hi Chris,
    A friend has asked that I send over Australian owl feathers that I found in Australia from Australia to the U.S. Is this illegal? The specific owl species is not endangered or protected in Australia.


    • Posted November 30, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      You would need to first find out if is ok to send out of Australia. When it comes into the U.S., besides any U.S. law having to do with the specific owl species, there are always health laws (you know, avian flu type of thing) that might cause an inspector to hold up the import.

  21. Posted January 18, 2016 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    I like your speeding analogy.
    Your artwork is really wonderful.

  22. Kat
    Posted February 13, 2016 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    If I happen to find feathers on the ground from a falcon, would that be illegal to collect them? I would not be harming the falcon, but there are a lot here where I am.

    • Posted February 26, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Most feathers you find on the ground, you aren’t supposed to have–falcon, robin, crow, eagle…

  23. Peter
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Can i have Parrot Bird Feathers?

  24. Sonia
    Posted February 26, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Do you know what the rules are in Canada regarding feathers from birds such as cardinals and blue jays?

    • Posted May 2, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      I am not familiar enough with laws outside my country to give good advice. You can check with Environment Canada’s laws on migratory birds. The country’s CITES laws may also be of help.

    • Posted May 2, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      There are laws that protect those birds. I believe that Environment Canada administers them.

  25. Cedar
    Posted March 6, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Hi there, in California the wild turkey is said to be an invasive species. Do you know if one is allowed to work with these feathers?

  26. justin
    Posted March 19, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Hello. It says you can not possess feathers from ravens. What if it is for religious purposes? I have 2 ravens feet that i dried with salt and i also have some feathers . They both came from a raven i found while walking. On the way to my destination i walked by a buildning and there was nothing, but on the way home there was a freshly dead raven under a big window on their lawn. I assume it hit the window and died i didnt want this bird to just die for nothing and seeing as how the birds remains could be usefull to me for religious reasons i decided to take what i could from the animal and use it. I wont be selling any of it and it will stay in my home. Is this legal or can i still get into trouble? Also, if illegal how illegal is it? Felony or….?

    • Posted May 2, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      That must have been a surprise to find that raven there when you returned. Having raven parts is not allowed in the USA under the Migratory Bird Act.

  27. lisa tso
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Nice to run into this site, thank you for sharing your discoveries & giving opportunity for discussions.
    Some of the comments compelled me to comment. it’s a shame folks cant keep whats found, but the reason for this is because where i live people will kill whole birds to get their feathers for art & trade , everyone would say, “i just found them”. You see? Most folks who honestly come by feathers keep them discreetly. If kept in a private, sacred manner, you shouldn’t be in fear of the wildlife division banging down your door. However blatently displaying it or profiting from it in any manner, may incurr karmic consequences. My husband is a Navajo Medicineman, so I have some experience on the topic.
    By the way I was checking it out because of some duck feathers I have. It was good to see info on mallards , because we make dreamcatchers & didn’t want to use chicken feathers like the ones made in china!

  28. Joe
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    *I think*I’ll just pick up whatever feathers I find on my land and tie my trout flies with them. To catch trout that are legal to eat. Feathers repurposed.

    Thanks for the article.

  29. jane Duke
    Posted April 11, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Your knowledge of birds and their feathers with regard to regualtory law and sharing of such is very informative. Thank you for your posts! I am going to Mexico to procure Chilean Flamingo Feathers. How will the airport know not to confiscate these feathers? Will they be able to determine them as Phoenicopterus chilensis?

    I am going for breeding season to acquire the feathers that lay on the beach.

    • Posted May 2, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I’m not so up on import-export requirements. USFWS officers are on call at major airports. But only a few would know how to identify or separate flamingo species’ feathers though they do have guidebooks. My suggestion: find out a bit more about feather import laws and document your feathers.

  30. Reid N.
    Posted April 22, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I ah e a pair of red tail Hawks living I my backyard. Yesterday, I found a feather from one of them. I suppose I should get rid of it ?

  31. DJ
    Posted May 5, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Very nice information on your site . . . I have a question on cormorants. Moot question at this point, but I saw an unfotunate bird on a lake Erie beach that had apparently expired while swallowing a fish. Poor thing still had the tail sticking out of its gullet, made me so very sad. Anyway, as I am aware that many, many water bird’s ‘bits’ are illegal to own, I curbed my desire to obtain a few of the gorgeous black feathers. Please tell me that was correct? Thanks for your help!

    • Posted May 11, 2016 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      You are correct. No matter how a migratory bird died in North America, or even if it didn’t and just shed its feather in a yearly molt, the Migratory Bird Act says you can’t have any of these birds nor their parts, which means feathers.

  32. Aly Keyes
    Posted May 8, 2016 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Hello I live in Northern California and went to see a bird exhibit and I love owls! I saw one of the owls pick a father and throw it! I asked the owl keeper of I could have it and he said “yes actually because it is not native to North America.” I don’t remember the type of owl but my Father in Law told me hands down you can not keep a Raptor feather in California. I made a really pretty piece out of a silver arrow head and a turquoise piece with leather wrap and hung it in my car. He says if I get stopped they will take it? Is this true? Because I love it so much !! Thanks in advanced!! 🙂

    • Posted May 11, 2016 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Usually zoo keepers are pretty aware of the laws they need to abide by concerning feathers.

  33. Doug
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Found a roseate spoonbill wing on the golf course the other day. Apparently died a violent death by aligator. I’m guessing these these feathers aren’t legal to possess. Correct?

  34. Judy Ashton
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I used to have a cat that brought in feathers. LOL. Not much you can do about that.

  35. Chuck
    Posted June 26, 2016 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    So a barn owl feather is illegal, according to the migratory act of 1981. Yet, owls don’t migrate. I found one yesterday on the median of a highway. I grabbed it and bagged it. Called the local reservation, and left a message, i thought an elder may want the feathers/skin for ceremonies. I also pulled over a police officer, he gave me the number for dispatch for fish and wildlife. They haven’t returned my call. I dont want this beautiful animal to go to waste, yet i am unsure what the next step is.

  36. morgan
    Posted July 1, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    What about feathers from eagles/hawk/ravens not native to the us such as those in asian countries whose feathers you can find on alibaba? Are those legal to buy and possess and sell in items and goods un the usa?

    • Posted July 13, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      They at least probably wouldn’t fall under the auspices of the Migratory Bird Act.

  37. Donna
    Posted July 4, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for a very helpful post.

  38. Chris
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Do you have any suggestions for resources about collecting objects with feathers in them? Do any purchasing/owning restrictions exist if the work of art was imported into the US legally?

    • Posted August 31, 2016 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      If you know the species of bird the feathers came from, you can find out if they are legal to possess. Like the hornbill regalia from Indonesian islands — you would have to find someone who could identify the particular feather. If the art is very old, made before the laws were made, the art may be exempted.

  39. Wendy
    Posted August 8, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I am in Texas (East Texas close to Tyler) I have feathers from a couple farms of chickens, Fan tailed pigeons, geese, ducks and guineas. I am wondering if all these birds are legal to have, as I want to make crafts out of them. Like I said these are all on the farm and all the birds were bought as babies at feed stores.
    I also have friends from Australia and England can they send me feathers from their farms and feathers they find on their property?
    Thank you for all your information.

    • Posted August 31, 2016 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      As far as I know, it is legal to have and sell these commonly raised domestic birds under the laws I mentioned. Other laws come into effect when shipping domestic bird feathers from one country to another–like health laws.

  40. Lynda Jarsocrak
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I am a Native American and I live in PA. I called the game commission to ask if it is legal to sell turkey feathers. I was told that I can’t sell any wild animal parts. I have spent a couple of hours looking for a listing of what is and is not legal to sell in PA. I know about endangered and threatened species. But I have a lot of domestic turkey feathers, some white and some barred. Do you know where I can get a listing of what is legal to sell and what is not. I have spent a couple of hours trying to find such a listing with no luck. Thanks

    • Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      The best I can do is place links to the lists of the world’s birds that are protected under the CITES and Migratory Bird Act regulations — which I finally did at the end of this blog post. And domestic turkey feathers are legal to sell under these laws.

  41. Dawn
    Posted August 10, 2016 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    I am in Iowa. Recently I found a hawk feather in my in-laws back yard and a bluejay feather in my own driveway. I put the hawk feather back when I found out it was illegal to possess (I had always thought it was just illegal to possess eagle feathers), but is the bluejay feather legal to keep?

  42. OZ
    Posted August 15, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    If you check the CITES List…Falconaria category (raptors such a eagles/hawks, etc.)…even ducks are protected after 2013. Any feather on either the MBTA list or the CITES list are illegal to possess, buy, sell, barter, blah blah. Pretty much of its on the list- No Go. Even of its cited as NC (No concern).….”Any type of wild plant or animal may be included in the list of species protected by CITES [see Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP16)] and the range of wildlife species included in the Appendices extends from leeches to lions and from pine trees to pitcher plants. While the more charismatic creatures, such as bears and whales, may be the better known examples of CITES species, the most numerous groups include many less popularized plants and animals, such as aloes, corals, mussels and frogs.
    On this site, you can find the lists of species included in CITES Appendices I, II and III, as well as photographs of many of the listed species.
    To find more details of the CITES species, you can search the CITES-listed species database hosted by UNEP-WCMC and the Checklist of CITES species.”

    Also, the opening statement can be construed that it covers “any” migratory bird from anywhere or within the US territories, allied countries, imported, exported, or suspected to come from a country with avian flu.
    Read the whole thing!!!! Call to be safe if you’re buy anything of Alibaba, Ebay, Etsy, or even Native American, or “Native American inspired”. There are laws against purchasing nonnative look a-like craft with feathers.
    Here is the CITES list to search….

    Call US fish and Wildlife if you have questions!!! here is the MBTA list …

    Happy searching!!. If you see it leave it!! Dint pick it up. No matter where it is or where it comes from.!!!!

    • Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      Good information, Thank you. The laws can take a bit of time to read but it’s worth spending the extra effort to get the information from the source rather than completely relying on second-hand information from blogs like mine for the final answers. –Chris

    • Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      I should have done this long ago but did just links at the end of this blog post to USFWS and CITES.

  43. Rose fox
    Posted August 19, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    What about a road runner feather. ?

  44. David Mycon
    Posted August 30, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    A friend of mine recently purchased a home through auction. He found hawk feathers in the basement and was wondering what he can do with them?

    • Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      If the feather is from a North American bird and you are in the USA, you cannot have it.

  45. Lorena
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I make jewelry and dream catchers, I bought dyed goose feathers and other feathers from overseas sellers on ebay. I can’t be 100% sure what kind of feathers they are. I know they go through customs, I see the stamps. Are these ok?

  46. Morgan
    Posted September 13, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Can you have a house finch skull?

  47. Gbird
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    My young son and I find many shed feathers on our camping trips in the Colorado mountains: red tail hawk, woodpeckers, wild turkey,peregrine falcons, ravens. Such a shame I can’t legally have these because I want to make art with them! All I can use are peacock and guinea fowl because my friend raises them.

  48. Nick
    Posted October 20, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Several people have questioned the accuracy of the author’s information, especially when it comes to crows. Like he said, he is not the authority on the topic, so please consult the actual law.
    He is mostly wrong. In California for example, there is a 124 day hunting season for crows and you can posses up to 48 crows and you can kill 24 a day. Per the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that the author claims to be getting his information from, there is an exception at the very beginning. If there is a hunting season or any other law that allows you to kill, posses or transport these birds, then the act is irrelevant to the bird in question. Here is the actually wording taken directly from the MBT Act:

    “Establishment of a Federal prohibition, UNLESS PERMITTED BY REGULATIONS, to “pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture or kill, possess, offer for sale, sell, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, cause to be shipped, deliver for transportation, transport, cause to be transported, carry, or cause to be carried by any means whatever, receive for shipment, transportation or carriage, or export, at any time, or in any manner, any migratory bird, included in the terms of this Convention . . . for the protection of migratory birds . . . or any part, nest, or egg of any such bird.” (16 U.S.C. 703)”

    Emphasis mine.

    So, if your state has a hunting season for the birds protected by the MGT Act, then those birds are not protected in your state within the allowances of your state regulations.

    • Posted October 20, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      The thing is, with crows, although you can hunt them, you can’t sell them or the feathers.

3 Trackbacks

  • By Feathers and Felonies:The Impact of U.S. Bird Laws on Modern Spirituality | International News on June 29, 2015 at 7:55 am

    […] learn more about feathers and how to work with them legally, Chris Maynard has summed feather legalities well. also shares a good summary of the laws.  Lupa maintains a page dedicated […]

  • […] to our friends up north but most 'exotic bird' feathers are illegal to possess … Take a look at Guide to legal and illegal feathers in the USA – Featherfolio Hope this helps. __________________ We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready […]

  • […] Not all feathers are legal. Using eagle, hawk, owl – (raptors), or birds covered under the Federal Migratory Bird Act could land you in legal trouble with big fines. Here’s a link to get you started researching legal feathers. […]

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