Date: 5/19/20 5:21 pm
From: Neil Buckley <bucklenj...>
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] Advice or thoughts on a bulldozing project with nesting BVs
Wow, Gretchen that is depressing. However, thanks for the detailed and
informed explanation. It sounds as if legal options are pretty limited.
This is just sad and not only because this is the first time BVs have been
documented nesting in VT.

On Tue, May 19, 2020 at 8:09 PM Gretchen Nareff <marshbirder...>

> Hi folks. As of right now, migratory birds and their nests are protected by
> federal law, not state, so you need to contact USFWS in NH. However, under
> the latest interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (M-opinion
> published 12/2017), bird nests do not get as much protection as they once
> did. I previously worked for the USFWS and one of my jobs was teaching the
> newest interpretation of the MBTA. I'd be happy to explain what is and
> isn't legal. Many states, including Vermont, are now trying to pass their
> own legislation in light of this new interpretation, which allows
> incidental take of migratory birds.
> Best case scenario here is that the birds don't have eggs/young yet and the
> barn is torn down immediately. If they already have eggs or nestlings,
> there are a couple options, but legally (at least federally), the barn can
> be torn down even if there is a nest in there, and especially if the City
> deems it a hazard. I know it's absurd and unfortunate, but that's what the
> USFWS solicitor decided. If the barn is torn down just for the sake of
> tearing the barn down and the nest is incidentally destroyed, nothing
> illegal took place. If the nest is intentionally destroyed for the sake of
> destroying the nest, that is illegal. "Good Samaritans" may legally take
> eggs or nestlings to licensed rehabilitators in an attempt to prevent total
> loss of a nest. The other organizations and agencies mentioned can help
> with that part, as can I if you'd like.
> The M-opinion did not change the MBTA itself, just the current
> interpretation. It is possible that a future administration will reverse
> the M-opinion or that new legislation will pass. However, the way it is now
> makes it easier for big industries to do their jobs. You can't sell
> electricity if you're always in court over killing birds with power
> lines...
> Please note, I'm not offering legal advice and I'm not saying it's okay to
> go out and tear bird-occupied buildings down all around town!
> Responding with the knowledge of a federal biologist and the opinion of a
> private citizen,
> Gretchen E. Nareff
> Bennington, VT

Dr. Neil Buckley, M.Sc., Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chairman
Department of Biological Sciences
SUNY Plattsburgh,
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
518 564 5165
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