Killing Birds

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen — 4 February 2020

featured_image

The driver of the car pictured in the image here has committed a Federal Crime — a misdemeanor under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA) punishable by a fine of up to US$15,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months.  His crime?  He has violated the MBTA which makes it illegal 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)”

[ Correction (1430 ET 4 Feb 2020):  The car-bird collision involved a turkey which, it turns out, is NOT on the MBTA list of protected birds.  The turkey vulture is on the list. The error is mine.  If it had been a sparrow or a robin, however, the crime would have been committed. ]

Surely, you might think, I am kidding here.  But I am not.

“Solicitor’s Opinion M-37041 – Incidental Take Prohibited Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, issued January I 0 , 2017 (hereinafter “Opinion M-37041 “), which concluded that “the MBTA’ s broad prohibition on taking and killing migratory birds by any means and in any manner includes incidental taking and killing .”

This opinion represented the standard practice of the United States Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in the application and enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  A brief version of the history is given in this government document:  “M-37050 – The Migratory Bird Treaty Act Does Not Prohibit Incidental Take”.

The document linked expressly rescinds the opinion expressed in M-37041 and replaces it with the following:

“Interpreting the MBTA to apply to incidental or accidental actions hangs the sword of Damocles over a  host of otherwise  lawful and productive actions, threatening up to six  months  in jail and a  $15,000 penalty for each and every bird injured or killed. As Justice Marshall warned, “the value of a sword of Damocles is that it hangs-not that it drops. ” Indeed, the mere threat of prosecution inhibits otherwise lawful conduct.”

“For the reasons explained below, this Memorandum finds that, consistent with the text, hi story, and purpose of the MBTA, the statute’s prohibitions on pursuing, hunting, taking, capturing, killing, or attempting to do the same apply only to affirmative actions that have as their purpose the taking or killing of migratory birds, their nests, or their eggs.”  [emphasis added — kh ]

Lucky for the driver in the featured image that the interpretation was changed.  The turkey is one of the 2,194 birds that are currently covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  Wait a minute, you might say, how is that possible?  How many bird species are there in the United States?  According to National Geographic there are “The United States is home to 1107 different species of birds, while Canada and Alaska host 686 and 521 species respectively.”  I’d add those together, but Canada and Alaska share many of the same species.   Some of the species covered by the MBTA are listed because they are protected in other countries that are party to the treaty.

What does this mean for you and I?  It seems that virtually every bird you  might see, or run into with your car, or have inadvertently fly into your plate glass window, or have killed by your pet dog or cat, is covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act — and up until February 2017, you committed at least a Federal misdemeanor by failing to prevent the collision, either with your car or your window or failed to prevent your cat or dog from killing a backyard bird.

On January 30th, the US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a statement that it was “proposing a rule that defines the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) to provide regulatory certainty to the public, industries, states, tribes and other stakeholders. ….  This proposed rule clarifies that the scope of the MBTA only extends to conduct intentionally injuring birds. Conduct that results in the unintentional (incidental) injury or death of migratory birds is not prohibited under the act.”  In effect,  turning the memorandum “M-37050 – The Migratory Bird Treaty Act Does Not Prohibit Incidental Take” into a rule.  For the FWS’s viewpoint, also see here.

As expected, the media have leapt in with accusations of the current administration attempting to weaken environmental laws.  Lisa Friedman in the NY Times says:

“It’s a race against the clock,” Bob Dreher, senior vice president of conservation programs at Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental organization, said of the proposed regulation. Any legal guideline, like the one now governing bird-death enforcement, can be easily overturned; the 2017 opinion on incidental avian deaths reversed guidelines written by the Obama administration to enshrine the government’s ability to fine and prosecute those who accidentally kill migratory birds. Mr. Dreher noted that codifying the opinion into regulation, as the Trump administration is trying to do, would make it harder for a future president to issue a quick reversal.”

The Audubon Society says in: “Administration Doubles Down on Bird-Killer Policy” —

“The Trump Administration’s Bird Killer Department, formerly known as the Department of the Interior, just gets crueler and more craven every day,” said David Yarnold, president and CEO of Audubon (@david_yarnold).  “And today they are doubling down despite the fact that America did not elect this administration to kill birds.”

In another article, the National Audubon Society says:

”For the past half-century, the government’s position was that the law prohibited “incidental take,” or the inadvertent but often predictable killing of birds, usually through industrial activities. Though rarely used, that legal authority helped convince industries to adopt bird-saving practices and technologies. But in late 2017, Daniel Jorjani, the department’s top lawyer, issued a memorandum stating that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)—the agency in charge of implementing the MBTA—would no longer enforce incidental take.”

Important Note:  Readers should not confuse the National Audubon Society with your  friendly neighborhood or regional Audubon group.  Local Audubon groups are people like you and I and they do good work at the local level.   It is David Yarnold, president and CEO of the National Audubon Society, that spouts off as quoted above sounding  every bit as crazy as your average Extinction Rebellion or Greenpeace mouthpiece.  In reality, the not-for-profit “charity” National Audubon has assets totaling nearly half a billion dollars and Yarnold receives an annual salary of US$ 617,905.

And there’s the rub — freely admitted by Audubon — the previous position of criminalizing accidental or incidental killing of birds (and remember, nearly every US bird is covered by the MBTA) was “rarely used” — and when it was used, it was selectively applied to the petroleum industry, the power industry, the cell phone industry, the mining industry, the construction industry and agricultural interests.   And that’s a real problem.  The threat of prosecution has been used as a cudgel to enforce the desires and agendas of various advocacy organizations such as Audubon.

Why is this bad?  As the law was previously interpreted, almost any death of almost any bird in the United States, or even just disturbance of almost any bird nesting site, or even picking up and keep a bird feather could have been prosecuted as a Federal Crime.   Want to replace a  bridge in your community?  Can’t do it if any birds are nesting under it….Federal crime.  Want to restore sand to your beaches?  If you fail to get a Federal permit allowing you to disturb the birds that habituate the beach — Federal crime.  Cut down a tree in your yard, causing a bird nest to fall?….Federal crime.

Oh, but you were safe from prosecution unless you were carefully selected — by whom?  Who knows?  If any of the aggressive environmental groups reported your offense to the FWS you could be pursued for prosecution.   Neighbors don’t like you?  They report you to the local chapter of the Environmental Defense Fund or National Audubon, who file a complaint with the FWS.

However, if David Yarnold, president and CEO of Audubon, accidentally kills a migratory bird with his car — or, heaven forbid, a migratory bird kills itself by flying into those big plate glass windows at Audubon’s Discovery Center (pictured below), then — well — it is just an unfortunate unavoidable accident.

Audubons_Discovery_center

Now, just to be clear, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act literally covers almost any bird you are likely to come across in the Unites States.  Don’t believe me, think of a bird you have seen in your yard and then check the list.   Sparrow? – on the list.  Crow?  – on the list.  Cowbird?  – on the list. Finch?  – on the list.  Turkey? – on the list.  Robin?  – on the list.   Your kid picked up a robin’s egg that fell out of the nest in your yard’s apple tree?  He is only now protected from prosecution by the change proposed  in the new FWS rule.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is not the same as the Endangered Species Act which protects endangered species.  For birds, this means just the 77 species of US birds on this list.  You will not find the Bald Eagle on that list — it is no longer endangered.  It is, along with the Golden Eagle, protected under another Federal law, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (as well as the MBTA). There are an additional 22 US birds on the Threatened list.  Those 101 bird species have special protections, as they probably should.

egg_collectionThe Migratory Bird Treaty Act was expressly passed to prevent the then on-going wanton destruction of hundreds of thousands of birds, the destruction of which was made extremely profitable by two very popular fads of the late-1800s and early 1900s.  Bird egg collections for display in curio cabinets of Victorian homes, like the one shown here were very popular, both in the United States and in Europe.  Even more popular were ladies hats and this required a nearly endless supply of  feathers (and bizarrely, whole birds) to the millinery trade.  Like many of the problems we see with endangered species today, it was a fad that was endangering the birds in the 19th century — the making of ladies hats like these:

feather-hats

Does the proposed new rule, which will codify the existing FWS’s current practice, mean,  as the Audubon society claims, that everyone is now free to kill all the birds they want to?  Of course not!   There are lots and lots of laws protecting wildlife, at both the Federal and the State level.

What it does mean is that advocacy organizations will no longer have the power to threaten individuals and industries with Federal prosecution over the inadvertent, incidental and accidental death of birds.

And that is a good thing.

Bottom Line:

 Birds, like all wildlife, are part of our common natural heritage and deserve our active protection from wanton destruction — whether at the hands of  commercial interests or through inattention and simple neglect.  Sensible clear laws  and rules for their protection are a right and proper use of governmental regulatory powers.

The United States Federal government is changing the interpretation of the MBTA to exclude criminal prosecution except in the case of affirmative actions that have as their purpose the taking or killing of migratory birds, their nests, or their eggs.” And will enshrine this interpretation as a new rule.

That means that you and I are safe, for the time being,  from selective prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which covers nearly every bird species in the United States, for accidental, unintentional, inadvertent acts which could be construed as  pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture or kill, possess,… any migratory bird, … or any part [including feathers] , nest, or egg of any such bird.”  — including potentially malicious prosecution based on the accusations of over-zealous advocates.

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Author’s Comment:

I like birds.  I watch birds.  I have a dozen or more bird field books.  I feed birds in the winter.  I have sat in my car for hours watching a male pin-tailed whydah attempt to get air-borne from the ground despite his incredibly long tail — ready to intervene if any predators appeared — until  he eventually made it up to a telephone wire, where he was safe.

I have picked up colorful feathers in the woods.    And sadly have collided with birds on the highway.  I have picked up fallen bird eggs, and unable to find the nest from which they fell, taken them home to show to my curious children.  I have chased birds out of my vegetable garden to protect my crops.  None of these should ever have been Federal criminal offenses, yet they were, under previous administrations’ interpretation of the MBTA.     At least for now,  they are not.

I realize that not everyone will agree with my understanding of MBTA battle taking place in Washington, D.C..

I would love to read your thoughts in the comments.  Start with “Kip…” if speaking to me.

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218 thoughts on “Killing Birds

    • Steven ==> Gads, you are right — my search of the list of protected birds under MBTA returned a spurious error — indicating turkey (but meant Turkey Vulture!) So, Quite right — turkeys are NOT covered by the MBTA — it is my error. This is a fine illustration of gthe necessity oif checking every fact many times.

      I have made a note in the essay to this effect.

      • Kip,

        Several common yard species are introduced non-native species and not covered by the treaty, and classified “unwanted” by the puritanical Audubon Society: House Sparrow, Starling, Eurasian Collared-dove. Also the common Rock Pigeon (park pigeon.)

        Audubon Society seems intent on punishing industrial bird killers, but curiously stand mute about deadly wind generators and solar mirror installations. I wonder why?

        • brians356 ==> I am a supporter of local Audubon groups, who all seem to do good work.

          However, National Audubon has literally slipped the rails and gone off the tracks…..

          • Our local Audubon group, or an active minority thereof, is much into Global Warming and works to promote the GW agenda of the National office.
            We support the local group but do not pay National dues, and we frequently skip meetings. The local membership is quite old (aged), as are we, but I wonder if this is a more than local thing, and concern.

          • John ==> In response to my other bird essays, readers have commented that they are supportive and comfortable with their local Audubon groups but find the fanaticism of the National group offensive and often wrong-headed.

            With the general greening of Earth environments, birds are going to do better and better.

        • Hopefully, this rule will go into effect or the next Democrat administration will use MBTA to ruin “undesirable” industries while doing nothing to industrial wind turbines that harm many species of bird.

      • Kip:
        “A note” does not correct all of the errors contained in your article.

        e.g.:

        “The turkey is one of the 2,194 birds that are currently covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.”

        e.g. 2:

        “Now, just to be clear, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act literally covers almost any bird you are likely to come across in the Unites States.”

        Quail? No!
        Pheasants? No!
        Partridge? No!
        Grouse? No!
        House sparrow? No!

        Nor are birds on the list utterly protected!
        Waterfowl, dicks, geese, swans are on the list and subject to hunting seasons.
        Doves, rails, gallinules, etc. are on the list and subject to hunting seasons.
        Crows are on the list and subject to hunting seasons.

        Most of the other birds on the migratory bird list are protected under state laws, Federal amendments, etc.

        Starlings are on the list, yet the invasive European starling is not on the list and frequently listed as undesirable pests or vermin by state F&WS.

        the MBTA was passed to get control of market gunners who slaughtered flocks to supply meat/feathers primarily for urbanites.

        The Migratory Bird Treaty was a critical step in the process of getting unregulated hunting of waterfowl under control. The Treaty was a conservation agreement initially signed in 1916 by Canada (then a part of Great Britain) and the United States, which promised protection for migratory waterfowl and game species that were threatened by overhunting for food, sport, or trade of parts. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, ratified by Congress in 1918, was the first legal document in the world that made it unlawful to: “pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, possess, sell, purchase, barter, import, export, or transport any migratory bird, or any part, nest, or egg, or any such bird, unless authorized under permit…” Mexico (1936), Japan (1972), and Russia (1978) subsequently joined the Treaty. The federal government also specifically banned the hunting of Wood Ducks in 1918. Since its passage, the Act has been modified to extend protection to non-game species and to exempt invasive species from protection. Later, the Duck Stamp Act would give teeth to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which remained largely symbolic without the economic support needed for enforcement.”

        The MBTA was shortly followed by the Duck Stamp Act of 1934, later renamed a mouth Migratory Bird Hunting & Conservation Stamp.
        Shortly followed by the sportsmen supported excise tax agreements.

        This was followed a few decades later by a similar act for fish conservation..

        These following taxes and stamp tax acts are what funds the vast majority of animal, bird, fish conservation in America. The financial numbers collected are staggering.

        Those alleged “conservation” clubs and charities? Most pay a pittance towards conserving while spending the majority of their earnings on pseudo propaganda, salaries and advertising.

        Those groups that actually so spend some time or effort at conservation generally apply to the FWS for the bulk of their conservation funds.

        A) MBTA made market gunning illegal.

        B) The Duck Stamp act established control of who could hunt for migratory birds and collected funds. Funds that are used to establish Wildlife Management Areas, National Wildlife Refuges and conservation easements.
        Fiscal year Duck Stamp Act 2017 collections totaled $95,798,897.
        Since 1934, 6 million acres have been acquired using Federal Duck Stamp revenues. More than 300 national wildlife refuges were created or have been expanded using Federal Duck Stamp dollars.”

        C) Excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment provides the funds necessary for active conservation of wildlife.
        Disbursed to the states for conservation, education, etc. during 2019 was $673,586,164
        Total amount spent for conservation since inception: $12,204,852,828

        None of the above take into consideration protecting migratory birds at both ends of their migrations! The acts above only work on protecting them in the United States.

        To fill this void groups like Ducks Unlimited collect dues, donations and conduct various sales to generate funds that directly purchase, lease or retain easements on wetlands or adjacent properties in Canada. Thus ensuring protections for migratory birds.

        • It should be noted, that unless the driver of that car has a proper hunting license, hunted during the proper seasons and used approved equipment for harvesting that bird, they are liable for fines.
          All it takes is letting the local game warden know.

          A lesson many people learn when they crash into deer, bear, puma, rabbits and so on.
          For states with severe deer populations, the states allow some slack to the driver. It does require immediate notification to the game warden and hoping the game warden is in a good mood.

          The game warden can supply the necessary forms for the drivers to request keeping the deceased deer. That allows the game warden to let the driver keep the deer.
          As far as I know, this does not happen for most other wildlife.
          A bear failed to run across a nearby interstate. The driver was fined though I do not know if the fine was paid. The driver appealed.

          That driver must have been going fast for a large soft bulbous object to penetrate his windshield.

          • ATheoK ==> Years ago, I had to go to the house of a total stranger and ask to use their phone to cal the NY State police after a deer wrecked my car by jumping in front of it. Had I not reported it, I could have been fined. With a State Police tag, I was legally able to donate the dead deer to an acquaintance who had too many dependents and not enough money.

          • ATheoK – February 4, 2020 at 4:32 pm

            These following taxes and stamp tax acts are what funds the vast majority of animal, bird, fish conservation in America. The financial numbers collected are staggering.

            OH GEE WHIZZ, ….. Theo, …. the vast majority of the “staggering” revenue collected via the sale of hunting/fishing stamps, licenses, permits and other extraneous fees, ….. plus the fines collected from those convicted of violations ……… are expended on the State DNR Agencies and personnel themselves, …… whose sole mission is “seek out and arrest violators” of conservation Laws and “wacky” tobacco growing.

            If one is arrested and fined for illegally killing a deer, they will be fined a “deer replacement fee of 2/3 hundred dollars” ……. but in the past 50 years I have never heard of them “replacing” a single deer.

            Most of those DNR agencies are now having to find new “funding” sources because the younger generations are not interested in “hunting and fishing”.

          • Kip Hansen – February 4, 2020 at 6:05 pm

            after a deer wrecked my car by jumping in front of it. Had I not reported it, I could have been fined. With a State Police tag, I was legally able to donate the dead deer to an acquaintance who had too many dependents and not enough money.

            Kip, …… never heard of anyone being fined for their car hitting a deer, or a deer hitting their car, in NY, Pa or WV.

            But, with that State Police tag, ….. your Insurance Co. will pay off like a “slot machine”, no questions, no hassle, no suing to get your car repaired.

            Hundreds, if not thousands of White Tail deer are killed each year by vehicles in both Pa and WV, especially along I-79.

          • Samuel ==> In NY State, it is expressly forbidden to take the deer after it has wrecked your car UNLESS you get a State Trooper to tag the deer for you. They carry special tags for the purpose.

          • Yep, always get a police accident report when hitting deer/bear/turkey/whatever. Insurance companies want proof, that piece of paper serves quite nicely.

          • Kip,

            I lived in upstate NY (Herkimer County) for like 20 years, ….. and “YES”, you are correct about getting a NY SP “tag” for an accidental “kill” iffen you want the venison. And I believe that is also true for Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

            And the reason for that SP “tag” is that it suffices for a pseudo “legal” deer hunting license ….. because iffen a DHR Game Warden finds out or catches you with fresh or frozen “out-of-season” venison, he/she will arrest you “on-the-spot” and a Magistrate or Judge will fine you BIG money. So, that SP “tag” is actually a “get-out-of-jail-free” card iffen you need it.

          • Sam ==> yep — that’s the case alright. We were in St. Johnsville, along the Mohawk. everyone hunted and ate deer, everyone knew the rules of road kills.

            One time a pack of dogs chased and wounded a deer that ended up on our property along a creek, and I had to call the Troopers to come and shot it. They offer me the venison, but I asked them to give it to any family that they knew that was short of meat for the winter.

        • ATheoK ==> Well, that’s a long list of complaints. The MBTA never did nor was intended to cover imported birds that have become invasive or endemic.

          In comments, I linked to the list of birds not covered — you may compare it to the list of birds that are covered — all 2194 species. They are not covered for various reasons — many are game birds raised on game farms and shooting preserves specifically for the purpose of being released for shooting, as they do in NY state.

          My essay is about the proposed change to the interpretation of the MBTA and not intended to be a book-length treatise on the subject of bird conservation law.

          • “Kip Hansen February 4, 2020 at 5:53 pm
            ATheoK ==> Well, that’s a long list of complaints. The MBTA never did nor was intended to cover imported birds that have become invasive or endemic.”

            A classic red herring strawman response.

            Very few complaints, lots of corrections.

            The original lists of birds covered by the MBTA and continue to be are specific requests for inclusion by the treaty countries.
            The generic prohibition description serves to protect all migratory birds.
            i.e.:

            “made it unlawful to: “pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, possess, sell, purchase, barter, import, export, or transport any migratory bird, or any part, nest, or egg, or any such bird, unless authorized under permit”

            Specific requests allow the inclusion of many songbirds that do not migrate.
            e.g. I have several flocks and families of goldfinches and Eastern bluebirds immediately around my house.
            The goldfinches live in a number of mature conifers across the street from my house. The woods on my property used to host a few goldfinches, but storms knocked down most of my conifers. As the woods are slowly maturing into a hardwood forest, few conifers are growing inside the woods.
            My woodpecker, flicker populations increased and I saw a Baltimore oriole in a treetop just a few days ago. I suspect the oriole, like the waxwings, were only there to strip the local bradford pears as I could not see any holly berry reductions. With waxwings present that usually only takes a day or two.

            The Bluebirds live around the fields and yards on my property, with the largest male bluebird owning the house I put up for purple martins. During winter, bluebirds move from the field and yard edges to the scrub growth around the edges of my woods, especially young conifers.
            I can not prove it, but I believe the various woodpeckers activities that live here year round provide enough insects for the bluebirds all winter.

            The European starling, as an example of an invasive migratory bird, was initially imported in 1890 by a quack who wanted to introduce to America all of the birds Shakespeare mentioned.
            The MBTA was initially signed in 1916 by the USA and Britain for Canada. Well before the starling was recognized as invasive.
            As a migrating bird, the starling is technically covered under the MBTA. It is identified as undesirable and left to the states for control.

            The MB treaty was intended to protect the migrating flocks targeted by market gunners who often shot them all year round, especially spring when the birds are heading en-masse to their primary breeding grounds.
            Initial protections were desperately needed for birds shot for their feathers and meat; e.g. egrets, cranes, waterfowl, etc.; or wholesale slaughtered as undesirable or believed to be killers of young birds, e.g. gulls, raptors, carrion birds, etc.

            Only the MBTA was toothless. It did not have or provide for enforcement or prosecution capability.
            In the USA at the request of and with heavy support from sportsmen of the era, the MBTA was followed by the Duck Stamp Act; which provided necessary enforcement and prosecution laws for the MBTA.
            A well known sportsman, Ding Darling was at the Duck Stamp’s forefront and supplied the original artwork for the first Duck Stamp.
            Simplified; the original push to fully implement and enforce the MBTA were the hunters of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

            Hawks, eagles, vultures, seagulls, pelicans, buzzards, condors, etc. were included and received protection because they were rapidly approaching extinction because they were frequently shot as despised predators of chickens, ducks, pigeons, rabbits and even calves and kids. A few gunners positioned in mountain passes could and did decimate raptors migrating.

            Eagles, condors, buzzards, vultures and hawks continued their decline right through the 1960s. Research at the time indicated that the Federal programs to control coyotes and wolves with poisoned meat were significant contributors to raptors/carrion bird declines.

            “My essay is about the proposed change to the interpretation of the MBTA and not intended to be a book-length treatise on the subject of bird conservation law.”

            A perspective presented that comes across as that of a bird watcher.
            A bird watcher that appears to believe the MBTA, Duck Stamp Act, Pittman-Robertson act, Dingell-Johnson act came into being to protect songbirds; ignoring how those acts/laws together promote conservation and wildlife management, even today, in America.

            Birds, such as the male pin-tailed whydah, are conserved and protected by funds supplied by hunters and fisherpeople.
            If you are not purchasing Duck Stamps, you are not directly supporting MBTA enforcement, wildlife refuges or wildlife management areas.
            If you are not purchasing hunting and fishing gear, you do not directly support active conservation, wildlife restoration, wetland restoration, wildlife management, etc.

            Perhaps the revision to the law as you describe above will correct the most egregious applications of the MBTA laws.
            That turkey in a windshield comes under the local state game laws as do most wildlife/game bird violations.
            I am reminded of a video back in the 1990s of an EPA Administrator who told a room full of EPA agents/officials that their purpose was to “make examples” of accused rule breakers; guilty or not.
            DOI, FWS and some states may similarly pursue businesses or persons who run afoul of the FWS/Wildlife laws; except for preferential businesses/friends.

      • You are confusing and misrepresenting the term “incidental take”. The phrase itself defines itself … “taking” is an intentional affirmative act. You go bird hunting, for the express purpose of shooting and “taking” birds, and in the process, you accidentally shoot a protected bird that was somehow mixed in with the species legal for hunting. That is an “incidental take”.

        It was NEVER a Federal law or regulation that the act of driving a motor vehicle would be defined as a “taking” of protected bird species. Driving the vehicle under nearly any and all circumstances would never and could never be defined as a taking of birds. About the only possible exception would be if a driver spotted a flock of protected birds sitting on a portion of the roadway and intentionally accelerated and steered towards the birds for the purpose of “taking” one or more of the birds.

        Federal law was NEVER applied to car collisions with birds, or building collisions with birds, or any other non-“taking” death of a protected bird species.

        Your version of silly alarmism about Federal rules is every bit as misleading and dishonest as climate alarmists wailing over “criminal” non-believers who by their beliefs and speech are violating the True Believers’ rights to be afraid of climate change.

        • Duane ==> I’m afraid we’ll have to disagree. while you are right that no one was ever charged to hitting a bird with their car, it did remain a possibility under the previous interpretation.

          Lots of pressure brought on builders and building owners to prevent bird collisions, by Audubon, etc.

          I have supplied links to several sites on bird laws — you should check them out.

          There is little or no difference between targeting of tower builders (cell towers, power line towers) etc and targeting skyscraper builders.

          • It is not a matter of agreement. It is a matter of law. A “taking” is a legally defined term. Nobody CAN be arrested and convicted for a taking if a taking was not involved.

            Virtually all US States define a “taking” in their respective laws governing wildlife. A person who collides with a game animal, such as a deer or a bear or an elk, that is subject to regulation as a game species may not “take” the dead animal and butcher it or mount it on their wall at home. If vehicular damage is incurred – as it usually is – or personal injuries are incurred, the driver of the vehicle is required to complete an accident report to law officials, who in most cases will also report the loss of the game animal to the state wildlife management authority.

            Again, mere collision with a protected or regulated species is not a “taking” under the law. The person involved literally has to “take” the animal as part of an affirmative intentional act, and then use it for unlawful purposes in order for it to be a taking.

            A hunter can unintentionally shoot a bald eagle if he or she mistook it for a different animal – but taking the feathers is a taking that is unlawful under Federal law.

          • Duane ==> Did you read up on the Bird Law link?

            “For the 1989 spill, Exxon paid the United States government $100 million in criminal fines for injuries to fish, wildlife, and habitat, and $12 million to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund. BP paid $100 million to the fund. These penalties were brought, in part, under one of the country’s oldest wildlife protection laws, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).”

        • Incorrect Duane.
          You are substituting personal opinion for how the laws are defined and have been prosecuted.

          State game laws prohibit wasting animals killed.
          That is, if you killed an animal, no matter by what means, you have “taken” that animal. You are expected to remove the carcass.

          And yes, state and Federal officers have prosecuted persons and businesses for killing, i.e. “taking”, animals incidentally.
          Running over animals with your car can earn you fines and even jail time if local of Federal wildlife officials decide to prosecute.

      • oh lord that WAS funny!! 😉
        it was a late late show in Aus and we used to stay up to see it.

        I cant belive you guys could be fied for a deer hitting your car damaging it and risking your lives.
        Roos are protected in some aus states(hunting allowed in others) but no one in their right mind would try and fine us for BEING HIT by one your radiator n bonnet and lights are usually severely damaged front end /steering etc
        and if they bounce into the side you lose the door usually.
        after 5k and upwards panelbeating charges(insurers hate those calls)
        anyone trying to apply a fine might come out looking like the roo
        I played dodge n weave with about 30 on a rd , one hopped away then bounded right back
        my heavy duty roobar saved me worse damage but the bar and the support sure moved a couple of inches into the car chassis, stuffed the wheel alignment and cost me 2 tyres, and i was slowing down @60ks or so.

    • A few years ago, I was freaking up, because a woodpecker drilled a huge hole into our attic (presumably to build a nest). Fortunately, after a week of pecking away, he moved off. No nest (probably because there was a 7-foot drop from where he had bored the hole, and the floor of the attic. I hired a contractor who put replaced the damaged siding with a large board made out of sometime of cement. Let’s see him bore through that. BTW, if he was nesting, I would have complained to the Fish and Wildlife Service, and see what they would do.

      • Littlepeaks, I had a woodpecker waking me early everyday for a while pounding on the neighbors metal shed (very annoying). I looked up why he was doing it and of course it came back that he was trying to attract a mate. The louder the sound the better the chance of attracting a mate it according to the article I read. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit that knocking a hole in your attic was making more racket than knocking his brains out against a tree.

  1. You forgot to mention the bye given to renewable energy projects such as windmills and major solar projects …

      • In several states they were given exemptions, Federally I can’t find any prosecution of wind turbine operators for killing migratory or endangered animals. Lots of instances of gas/oil and mining companies being prosecuted. Funny how that works.

        • Irony – that should be reversed, since gas/oil and mining companies probably kill a lot less birds than the “bird blender” windmills do, while doing something useful that the “bird blenders” don’t do – provide reliable energy.

        • Of course that is the principal reason most new wind farms are over water. Killing lots of birds creates very bad publicity – and farmers with a windmill on their land can count the birds daily but those migratory birds killed over water cannot be counted because there is no one there to do the counting. Thus no bad press! Probably worth the extra cost of installation in the water.

      • In the World of the Future, everything that is not forbidden will be mandatory. For instance, no chicken allowed, but you MUST eat tofu whether you like it or not. You will NOT be allowed to use free-flowing shower heads, but you MUST take one-minute showers only, in dribbles so meager that you can’t get clean. But you’ll be fined if you still stink. Etc.

        Farmers will be FORBIDDEN to control rabbits, even with harmless fences, but if they FAIL to deliver their quota of lettuce because rabbits ate it, THEY WILL GO TO PRISON.

        The public will be entitled to free omelets, but anyone who breaks an egg will be shot.

    • Hi Kip – It’s all easy to understand, once you accept that we are governed by scoundrels and imbeciles.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/01/water-is-replacing-climate-as-the-next-un-environmental-resource-scare/#comment-1131717
      [excerpt]

      Syncrude had several hundred ducks die in its tailings pond one year and were fined many millions of dollars for this unfortunate accident. The oilsands is the backbone of the Canadian economy and yes, it did kill some ducks. The nonsensical wind power industry kills zillions of birds and bats each year and is not fined. A ridiculous double-standard, thanks to our imbecilic politicians.

        • Kip – There is no real Rule of Law in Canada. Extremist gender bias results in men being arrested based on false charges for which there is no credible evidence, in a decades-old extortion fraud called the Silver Bullet scam. It is a huge fraud in which police, lawyers, Crown Prosecutors and Judges all profit, and children are cast adrift to become victims of child abusers and child traffickers – but it profits the Law Business and the Crime Business – two sides of the same coin. It is a gross criminal breach of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which exists only on paper, not in practice – it is more “selective prosecution”.

          There is also no Freedom of Speech in Canada, or there soon won’t be. Suppression of free speech is a core element of the Marxist-Liberals’ false “climate emergency” scam. The Democrats have the same objectives. Read on:

          https://www.rebelnews.com/trudeau-government-guilbeault-licence-every-website-in-the-world#_=_

          Liberal Cabinet Minister Steven Guilbeault has now hastily retracted – he was not supposed to divulge this secret plan of the Trudeau Libs.

          But rest assured, it IS THEIR CORE PLAN, and it will be back – like all Marxists, the Libs want total control.

          The “bought” Canadian press was afraid to print my story (below) – they didn’t want to lose their huge government subsidies.

          THE LIBERALS’ COVERT GREEN PLAN FOR CANADA – POVERTY AND DICTATORSHIP
          by Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., October 1, 2019
          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/10/01/the-liberals-covert-green-plan-for-canada-poverty-and-dictatorship/

          GET YOUR LICENSE COMRADE: The Liberals Are Launching A Communist-Style Attack On Free Speech
          https://www.spencerfernando.com/2020/02/02/get-your-license-comrade-the-liberals-are-launching-a-communist-style-attack-on-free-speech/
          [excerpt]

          The Trudeau Liberals are launching an unprecedented, Communist-style authoritarian attack on free speech and the free press in Canada.
          In an incredibly disturbing move, the Trudeau Liberals are set to push media organizations to register for government licenses.
          The announcement was made by Steven Guilbeault, in an interview with Evan Soloman: “We would ask that they have a license. Yes.”

          Here is the evidence, in a video interview with Canadian Cabinet Minister Steven Guilbeault:
          https://twitter.com/i/status/1224044099570819073

          • Kip – Canada is probably finished – like smart Jews in Germany in the 1930’s, smart Canadians should be moving to the USA.

            From: Allan MacRae
            Sent: February-03-20 10:23 PM
            To: Patrick Moore
            Subject: GET YOUR LICENSE COMRADE: The Liberals Are Launching A Communist-Style Attack On Free Speech

            Hi Patrick,

            Well, here we are, as I predicted.

            But you called it earlier, in 1994.
            “Hard Choices for the Environmental Movement – The Rise of Eco-Extremism”
            http://ecosense.me/2012/12/30/key-environmental-issues-4/

            Best, Allan

            GET YOUR LICENSE COMRADE: The Liberals Are Launching A Communist-Style Attack On Free Speech
            https://www.spencerfernando.com/2020/02/02/get-your-license-comrade-the-liberals-are-launching-a-communist-style-attack-on-free-speech
            [excerpt]

            The Trudeau Liberals are launching an unprecedented, Communist-style authoritarian attack on free speech and the free press in Canada.

            In an incredibly disturbing move, the Trudeau Liberals are set to push media organizations to register for government licenses.

            The announcement was made by Steven Guilbeault, in an interview with Evan Soloman:

            “We would ask that they have a license. Yes.”

            Here is the evidence, in a video interview with Canadian Cabinet Minister Steven Guilbeault:
            https://twitter.com/i/status/1224044099570819073
            ______________________

            This article was published on thsresearch. It’s looking prescient – it‘s all unfolding as predicted.

            THE RADICAL GREEN ROAD TO VENEZUELA – POVERTY, MISERY AND DICTATORSHIP
            By Allan M.R. MacRae, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., September 20, 2019
            https://thsresearch.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/the-radical-green-road-to-venezuela-poverty-misery-and-dictatorship/
            [excerpt]

            The Trudeau Liberals in Canada and their fellow-travelers in the western democracies are engaged in an extreme-left covert plot to damage our economies, destroy democracy and severely restrict our freedoms. Their objective is the total control of citizens and our economies, similar to the socialist devastation of Venezuela.
            ____________________________________

            https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/01/26/quebec-green-praises-the-chinese-corona-virus-wuhan-will-meet-its-ghg-targets/#comment-2903361

            Looking back, I called it in 2012 (below) and maybe earlier. The phony climate scare was always a smokescreen for the extreme left’s true intention – total control.

            Excerpt from my 2012 post below:

            50 million people died in Hitler’s WW2. Josef Stalin killed another 50 million of his own people in internal purges. Leftist hero Mao gets the prize, killing as many as 80 million Chinese during his Great Leap Backward.

            The radical environmental movement has done equally well, rivaling Mao for fatalities caused by the banning of DDT and the misallocation of scarce global resources on the fraud of catastrophic humanmade global warming.

            Since many of these enviro radicals are latter-day Malthusians, Club of Rome types, etc., it is reasonable to assume that THIS WAS THEIR INTENTION.

            Regards, Allan

            More at
            https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/24/weekly-climate-and-energy-news-roundup-53/#comment-855037

          • The Canadian Liberals’ and the American Democratic Party’s current policies are straight out the quotes of Vladimir Lenin.
            https://www.azquotes.com/author/8716-Vladimir_Lenin

            “Truth is the most precious thing. That’s why we should ration it.”

            “We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us.”

            “There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel.”

            “Free speech is a bourgeois prejudice.”

            “The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses.”

            “People always have been and they always will be stupid victims of deceit and self-deception in politics.”

            “It is, of course, much easier to shout, abuse, and howl than to attempt to relate, to explain.”

            “Democracy is indispensable to socialism.”

            “The goal of socialism is communism.”

            “The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”

            “Trust is good, but control is better.”

            “As an ultimate objective, “peace” simply means communist world control.”

            “One of the basic conditions for the victory of socialism is the arming of the workers Communist and the disarming of the bourgeoisie the middle class.”

            “One man with a gun can control 100 without one.”

            “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”

            “Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.”
            ___________________________________

    • 2hotel9 ==> Yes, corrected — my search of the 2194 species list returned a spurious positive to the turkey.

      • But this has nothing to do with whether turkeys migrate.

        Though it is called the Migratory Birds Protection Act, it seems anything with feathers (except the turkey) is included in the list.

        It seems if a house sparrow flies over the fence into your neighbours garden, it is deemed “migratory”.

        Of course if a flock of wild geese fly into a wind farm, they are just looking for windberries.

        • Greg ==> Yes, the MBTA bird list is incredibly inclusive, though there are exceptions for birds known to have been “imported” that are now endemic. Mostly excluded are birds that Audubon doesn’t like.

        • Most of the birds on the lists were added to the list because one or more of the treaty countries requested the addition. e.g. Mexico specifically insisted on the common crow receiving some MBTA protections.

          A bird did not have to “migrate” to get included.
          Originally, all that was needed was market gunner activity towards killing the birds and selling their meat and or feathers.
          Later, any endangered species were certain to be included almost universally. Nor is it required that the bird be universally endangered; allowing birds common to certain locales to be included in the general protections.

          House sparrows, ‘passer domesticus’, are not included in the list. Indeed, quite a few states list the English Sparrow as an undesired species. Open season if you have a hunting license.

          • ATheoK ==> The MBTA list includes the following sparrows:

            SPARROW,
            American Tree, Spizella arborea
            Bachman’s, Peucaea aestivalis
            Baird’s, Ammodramus bairdii
            Black-chinned, Spizella atrogularis
            Black-throated, Amphispiza bilineata
            Botteri’s, Peucaea botterii
            Brewer’s, Spizella breweri
            Cassin’s, Peucaea cassinii
            Chipping, Spizella passerina
            Clay-colored, Spizella pallida
            Field, Spizella pusilla
            Five-striped, Amphispiza quinquestriata
            Fox, Passerella iliaca
            Golden-crowned, Zonotrichia atricapilla
            Grasshopper, Ammodramus savannarum
            Harris’s, Zonotrichia querula
            Henslow’s, Ammodramus henslowii
            Lark, Chondestes grammacus
            Le Conte’s, Ammodramus leconteii
            Lincoln’s, Melospiza lincolnii
            Nelson’s, Ammodramus nelsoni
            Olive, Arremonops rufivirgatus
            Rufous-crowned, Aimophila ruficeps
            Rufous-winged, Peucaea carpalis
            Sage, Amphispiza belli
            Saltmarsh, Ammodramus caudacutus
            Savannah, Passerculus sandwichensis
            Seaside, Ammodramus maritimus
            Song, Melospiza melodia
            Swamp, Melospiza georgiana
            Vesper, Pooecetes gramineus
            White-crowned, Zonotrichia leucophrys
            White-throated, Zonotrichia albicollis
            Worthen’s, Spizella wortheni

            The House Sparrow https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_sparrow
            is considered an introduced species and thus excluded from the MBTA list.

          • “Kip Hansen February 4, 2020 at 5:58 pm
            ATheoK ==> The MBTA list includes the following sparrows:

            SPARROW,

            The House Sparrow https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_sparrow
            is considered an introduced species and thus excluded from the MBTA list.”

            If the bird is migratory and quite a few of the “introduced” species do migrate, it is protected by the MBTA.
            Species are specifically listed and specifically excluded, again at the request of the participating treaty countries.

            Otherwise, the migratory bird protection description is all-inclusive.

          • 2hotel9 ==> Actually, the MBTA was originally about the birds — the slaughter was horrific. The later interpretation that included incidental killing was misguided advocacy.

          • Long, long ago, in a sane country now far, far away it was about protecting birds, then leftists infiltrated the USG and began using “regulations” to turn innocent people into criminals for leftist’s political and financial gain.

          • Kip
            I have read that prior to being driven to extinction, the Passenger Pigeon was commonly taken at night with dynamite under their roosting trees.

          • Clyde ==> That sounds pretty weird. I guess the concussion might stun or kill them. The Passenger Pigeon was a horrific treat to crops when and if a flock arrived close to harvest time.

            It is unclear, biologically, how they became so numerous. My theory is the chaotic nature of population dynamics — the PP was in a boom state, and market hunting kicked it into a bust state from which it could not recover.

          • Kip
            Yes, they were like feathered locusts and a definite threat to subsistence farmers. And, there simply weren’t enough cats around to control them. 🙂

      • Of “game species” commonly hunted, only Mourning Dove is migratory in statute. Most waterfowl are as well. That leaves many common species not covered by the treaty (several introduced): Ring-necked Pheasant, Valley Quail, Mt. Quail, Bobwhite, Chukar Partridge, Gray Partridge, various grouse species, etc.

      • Baaka ==> THANK YOU! Now I see how I made my original error. I too searched the link you provide — not carefully looking at its structure — which is obscured by being poorly formatted for the web.

        When you or I [and this is correct English here pals] search for “Turkey” at that link, the search function highlights a line that says:

        Turkey, Cathartes aura

        I am almost totally ignorant in Latin so missed Genus name which — vaguely — is “New Latin, from Greek kathartēs cleanser, from kathairein to clean ” — those that clean up the mess.

        Cathartes aura is the Turkey Vulture.

        The Wild American Turkey is Meleagris gallopavo.

      • One sub-species is listed, turkeys in general are not, also, turkey buzzards are listed and yet they are literally everywhere. Shows it is not about protecting any animal, just another layer of “laws” created outside of the US Constitution by unelected scumbags. Hopefully DJT will, after his full exoneration in the Senate, will expand his regulation killing program, force all these illegally created “laws” to be stripped from our country and force Congress to do their f**king job.

  2. I wish they would enforce this Law before it is changed to include Deaths of migratory birds by Wind Generators.

    • Only in the world of poetic justice. They are given a pass because they make their wealthy owners/
      investors wealthier by charging the customer more for the power than the bird blender will ever produce. If you can’t figure out the logic in that then you are probably sane or not an environmental wacko or both.

  3. Great news, this administration is listening, then applying common sense and reason.

    This will end the extortion by the FWS upon industry, threatening with federal conviction for incidental take, unless for example you join their “conservation” program and pay $20,000-$100,000 per drill site.

    • Robert and Kip, the extortion goes beyond industry. FWS is always looking for another Federal agency to spend dollars on its conservation priorities. With Navy, among other things, it was migratory birds. FWS, backed by environmentalists and Federal judges, regarded migratory birds as more important than military training. This DOI Solicitor’s opinion is long overdue.

      • Pam ==> Yes, frightful how the MBTA was applied to interfere with military training and operations all over the United States.

    • Greg ==> 1. I do mention wind farms as one of the FWS previous-interpretation selective prosecution targets — lumped in with “the power industry”.

      2. Even mentioning the wind power effect on birds would have diverted the attention way fro the major focus of the essay — which is the past selective overly-broad enforcement of the MBTA.

    • My first thought was: what a bunch of hackneyed gibberish bureaucratic lawyers create.

      What we really need is laws against legalese much of which comes from un-elected bureaucrats, working in federal government agencies, creating incoherent ramblings, that put otherwise law abiding citizens, in harms way of an every growing and overreaching deep state.

      What was that Will Shakespeare suggested we do with all the lawyers? I think he wrote about it in Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2.

  4. That’s it! We have to dismantle everyone of those ugly wind turbines as each one is likely to kill multiple protected birds each and every year.

  5. Kip. An excellent article defining the demonic liberal elites take over of so called charitable institutions (or the creation of) for their own naked greed and power leading to totalitarian control. Well done
    Regards Jamie Moodie

    • Jamie ==> National Audubon used to be a reliable positive force in environmental circles — but the quote from its CEO reveals it to have descended into crazed rantings on the order of the Extinction Rebellion and other total eco-nuts. They send me a lot of email — SEND MONEY NOW OR ALL THE BIRDS WILL DIE.

      They have, as an organization, slipped off the rails.

      • Kip,
        If you have remnant stars in your eyes, do read some biographical detail of Audubon himself. He enjoyed hunting and killing the birds that he and his missus described and painted. Geoff S

        • Geoff ==> Yes, Audubon was an incredible naturalist s well as an artist, and what Naturalists did in his day was shoot, trap, snare, net and otherwise capture and kill the animals they were interested in. Birds were generally “skinned” (without removing the feathers).

  6. Which government agency gave this bird it’s flying license? They were negligent for providing not enough training.

  7. When I witness a turkey hammered by a vehicle I pick it up, tasty.

    They are not migratory. You do need a license to hunt, in season. They, (most species) are also not endangered.

    • Mark,
      My understanding is that in Scotland you can’t stop to pick up a pheasant that you have run over, but the guy in the car following you can stop and take it home to eat, always supposing that it isn’t too mangled of course.

  8. This truck driver unfortunately has killed a number birds and some bats also while doing his job. Not a thing I can do about it. Several times the birds have hit my rig instead of me hitting them. This fall driving on an interstate a small flock of Canadian geese flew out of a depressed area between the interstate and an on ramp. All I could do was move over to the hammer lane but it wasn’t enough and two of them hit the side of my trailer since they apparently couldn’t climb quickly enough to clear me. I reckon it was two because I heard two thumps.

    I too love birds. Outside my dining room window is a double shepherds hook with two seed block cages hanging from it that are kept stocked year around. Further out in my yard is an 8 lb. squirrel proof feeder that I only fill when there is snow cover during the winter. I get a lot of migrants coming around during their fall and spring migrations to rest up and feed including some species not normally seen in central Indiana and I too keep a couple of bird identification books so I can identify them though after years of observation I have found I don’t need the books much anymore.

    Biggest animal I have hit was an elk cow. Middle of the night on I-40 west bound about 11 miles east of Flagstaff, AZ. The impact busted the front grill, demolished the AC condenser, and put two holes the size of my thumb in the radiator. You really are taking a chance to try and maneuver out of such a collision at highway speeds in a big truck. We are taught to square up and take them head on because far worse can happen if you oversteer to try and avoid the collision.

    Turkey’s are big enough to come through the windshield at highway speeds. Happened to a buddy of mine. Thankfully the birds carcass came through the passenger side wind screen.

    I HATE that stuff. Worst part of my job.

    • I ht a pheasant once and it somehow punctured my radiator- I really regretted not having stopped to pick it up.

    • rah ==> Thanks for sharing your personal experiences. Glad you didn’t have any enemies in the extreme environmental groups to file a complaint.

      • Kip: “Glad you didn’t have any enemies in the extreme environmental groups to file a complaint.”

        Dead birds tell no tales, so long as there are no witnesses.

        Insurance companies don’t want to get involved. No good can come from bringing up why the windscreen was replaced. No sense in unleashing government paperwork hell on your company.

        • H.R. ==> Yeah — until a sneaky eco-nut sees some dead bird at the foot of your office block and decides that you’ve criminally neglected to prevent that bird from flying into your windows.

    • @rah: Just traveled that section of I-40 today. The section is well noted, in my 57 years traversing the area, for elk vs. car interludes. During my drive today, I noted three elk lying on the edge of the road in the eastbound direction, and returning home, one elk in the westbound direction! I cringe when I see one of those, as the car I normally drive is a Ford Escape which would sustain considerably more damage than your 18-wheeler! If I need to travel that section at night, I’m always 10-15 miles under the speed limit! Impact at 75 mph generates a whole LOT more foot-pounds of energy than at 60 mph! Glad you survived with as little damage as you did!

      • I was team driving at the time. We didn’t use the safety net in the sleeper unless road or weather conditions got bad. So I was limited in how hard I could hit the brakes. The animal reared up on her hind legs so I was looking in one of her eyes when I hit her. She was good sized, possibly pregnant and about 500 lb I would guess, and I’m sure if I had been in a car instead of a Century class Freightliner she would have come over the hood. The impact threw her about 20 feet in front of me and the rig rolled over her thus ending her suffering quickly.

        I pulled to the shoulder, assessed the damage. She was too heavy for me to pull fully off the road. Antifreeze was leaking out of the radiator. I got to the Little America truck stop and parked and called it in to the accident department. The accident had happened at about 01:00 on a Sunday morning. Later that day another team showed up to take the trailer to it’s ultimate destination in ‘Fontana, CA.

        We sat until Monday morning then drove the truck to the Freightliner dealer in Flagstaff. They estimated three days before they could even start on it. So we had them drive us to the Airport where we rented a car. A Chrysler PT cruiser. Drove back and emptied our stuff out of the truck into the car and then drove to San Antonio, TX get another truck.

        I had been stationed at FT. Sam Houston for a time while in the Army so I know the city well. My young team partner did not. We emptied the car and I told my team partner to go check out the Alamo and the River walk while I cleaned the truck and then put our stuff in it and got it ready to roll. When I was done and had received a new load from dispatch I called the kid up and bobtailed to the Airport where he had turning in the car. We picked up a load in San Antonio bound for Laredo, TX. A week later I quit the company and went to another.

    • rah
      I think that “squirrel proof” is like “bullet proof.” Those kinds of feeders seem to be more like ‘squirrel IQ tests.’

  9. In criminal law, the standard is mens rea. Mens rea means guilty mind. In other words, you have to intend to break the law to be found guilty of breaking the law. You can’t be convicted of theft if you did not intend to commit theft.

    Of course there are gotchas. There’s criminal negligence where you might not have intended to do something but you didn’t take reasonable precautions to prevent it happening. (‘reasonable’ is a very slippery word)

    For civil law and in the case of regulations, mens rea doesn’t count. If you blew through a stop sign, the judge doesn’t have to consider your state of mind. The problem is that for some regulations, the punishment is even more ruinous than those doled out for most criminal offenses.

    It would be good if the enforcement of regulations could be subject to the same protections we all enjoy in the case of criminal law.

    • Mens Rea isn’t the issue. The real issue is the difference between “incidental” and “accidental”. This accident would not trigger the MBTA.

      Shooting at a turkey and killing a protected bird would trigger it, though. Just not this particular situation pictured.

      • Sean ==> The accident certainly could have triggered the MBTA under the previous interpretation — the taking was incidental to the legal practice of traveling at a legal speed on a legal highway. There would have been a public outcry, of course, and it never would have gotten anywhere….but the interpretation of the law would have allowed it.

  10. The plain meaning of the Obama era rule is that unelected, unaccountable, well-paid members of a “non-profit” profitable business had enormous blackmail power over industry.

    In other words, they got to kill jobs with impunity.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  11. Back when the spotted owl was coming into its own as a tool to stop logging and other types of development, people (government & private) were going out into the woods and hooting at the birds (to make a count estimate & just for feeling like they were part of the show).

    I pointed out (to some of the private hooters) how territorial the birds were, and the act of repeatedly hooting in the woods could interrupt the breeding of the threatened birds. I guess I should have told them that they were in violation of the MTBE and subject to a $15K fine as well.

  12. Working for a regional electric/gas utility in the environmental field, I can readily verify that electrocutions are investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement. The agency has shown a preference for birds of prey (e.g., hawks) over lesser birds (e.g., starlings). Furthermore, the agency “strongly encourages” utilities to report all avian takes through its online reporting tool because if you don’t, it will order you to do so (more stick than carrot).

    But as long as you spend some money to make improvements (e.g., increased distance between lines or phases atop poles or insulated a center phase) or coordinate directly with national or state Audubon societies on making improvements, civil penalties are usually not issued. Regardless, the implied position of the office is that a utility is guilty of an illegal avian take by electrocution.

    Personally and on several occasions, I was unaware of a take – there’s literally thousands of miles of lines and it’s impossible to walk them all weekly, daily, or monthly (beyond that, the Great Circle of Life has done its job in disposing of a carcass). However, dutiful and concerned citizens reported the takes to either the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or state equivalent (who bumped it up). Notice of Violation letters were issued, documenting the takes, as if the utility knew or should have known about the takes, and (1) questioning why the utility didn’t report the takes, (2) submit your corrective actions – not only for this take but any other potential takes based upon a review of “problem poles” and “problem spans” (whatever those are) across your system, and (3) asserting that the utility use the online reporting tool for all bird takes (it’s only regulatory-required when a permitted project references the tool’s use – and limited solely to that project).

    It can be intimidating in that the agency-assigned individual always bears the title Special Agent and is always armed – in the field and/or office setting; I understand they may be dealing with poachers sometimes, but a utility is not a poacher (it isn’t going anywhere). A utility’s primary function (even an investor-owned utility, which is a heavy-regulated monopoly) is to deliverable reliable energy efficiently and effectively. At no point is it ever agreed by applicable, utility groups that “x” number of takes are acceptable, but do they occur? Yes. Why? Life (like nature) is chaotic and you cannot prepare a contingency for every scenario (likely or not) – the cost to delivery the energy would be so high that few could afford it.

    So, in the words of SFC Hulka from Stripes, “Lighten up, Francis.” I look forward to any lessening of the agency’s enforcement action on involuntary takes!

    • Tom ==> Thanks for the straight-scoop from the front-line trenches. any law that is open to selective enforcement, especially when enforcement is prompted and promoted by special interests with agendas, is bad. Criminalizing accidental bird deaths is the height of governmental abuse.

    • Tom Murphy: What happens to a utility if a skydiver accidentally comes down on a power line and is electrocuted? It would by hysterical (although not especially implausible) if the penalties for accidentally electrocuting a bird were greater than those for electrocuting a parachutist.

      Sometimes I think Kafka was an optimist.

      • Excellent question, Alan!

        For an investor-owned utility, the state public utility commissions have reporting requirements for public electrocutions whether a fatality is involved or not. I believe similar requirements exist for municipal and co-operative utilities, although it may be another agency (e.g., governor’s council). US DOL OSHA covers reporting requirements for employee electrocutions.

        Most states, though, don’t have a penalty for the actual electrocution. Rather, it’s more likely a utility would receive a civil penalty for an associated negligence (e.g., failure to follow internal construction standards, which resulted in public harm). Of course, the victim or family can always pursue a legal remedy/compensation in the civil courts, if a criminal case was not initiated.

        However and having worked for 30+ years in the utility environmental and safety fields, I believe it an axiom that regulators (as measured by penalties proposed and convictions obtained) care more about Bambi than Bobby or Barbara. The reason for this emphasis of the environment over the individual isn’t readily apparent, but while I’ve never heard it discussed, the agencies may feel that a more appropriate remedy is available via the civil courts. Regardless, I’ve yet to hear a compelling reason for such an apparent (to me, anyway) inversion of responsibility.

  13. Kip Hansen,.. Sir,.. Fantastic piece of discovery and reporting you’ve done here. Other comments have already been made concerning what these previously unreported “laws” from the Obama Era of draconian demands and punishments that went unreported by the Main Stream Media would have done to our rule of law had they not been revoked by the present administration.
    Leftist governments such as Cultural Marxism have used such tactics as Obama’s Administration did and they have all had the exact same results. Secrecy is absolutely essential in the beginning so that laws that are quietly passed at the start are not discovered and then can be used as bludgeons on the people once power has been secured by those who were given passes on their behavior as long as they towed the line.
    Pol Pot with his Khmer Rouge movement used those in the educational institutions with their ignorant pseudo-intellect until his rule had been installed. Once established the first thing he did was execute then all, These “smart” people were merely the first of the estimated 3 million souls that were summarily slaughtered.
    Thank you Mr. Hansen for revealing another piece of the secret.

  14. On a guided hikes in the aptly named Eagle River, WI to see eagle nests we were told “Don’t pick up any feathers, it’s a federal crime to possess one.” After some discussion we found out it was OK for the
    Indians Native Americans to do so for their ceremonial purposes.

  15. Kip, please, it’s “What does for you and me”, NOT “for you and I”, because it can’t be “for I”. There are a few more instances in your excellent essay. Picky, maybe, but let’s not shove good grammar right down the toilet.

    • Rixchard ==> That’s what my High School English teacher said when I embarrassed her by misusing the personal pronouns in an election speech I gave at an assembly prior to my election as Vice-President of my graduating class. I explained to her that 95% of the students couldn’t define “pronoun” and that I didn’t wish to sound pretentious.

      • Kip – love your sense of humor in the response to Richard. I tend to be as pedantic as he.

        Great write up. I knew the reg was modified, but did not know how extensive the rules were.

        • KaliforniaKook == The previous implimentation/interpretation sounds like something California would do…

      • There is nothing pretentious about your writing style or content, but it would flow more smoothly for those of us irritated by unnecessary errors.

        • Richard ==> Most writers will tell you that the editing process is the hardest part of writing, and despite spell and grammar checkers, error always creep in, and the author is a least able to discover those errors — authors need professional editors to get everything perfect. My wife is a retired professional editor — but I seldom ask her to put in the hours it takes to do a proper job on my essays, counting on my readers for understanding and forgiveness.

          • Kip,
            One grammar rule says no to s comma after “and” per your sentence above.
            Just sayin’ hoew some pedants think. Misuse of the rules in H. W. Fowler’s 1926 reference book on the English language is now widespread. We used to have written exams about that book. Geoff S
            p.s. As I was typing this, a news reporter spoke of “the amount of viewers watching that TV show….”. Horrible mangling.

          • Geoff ==> In truth, I do not write proper grammatical English — and I do not really intention to do so. I cut my teeth in rhetoric speaking. The result is that I write as if I am speaking to a group of people with a lot of aside, parentheticals, little bits thrown in set off by em dashes. I only pay attention to how it would work if I were addressing an audience in a lecture room.

            I do appreciate all the grammar help readers here have to offer.

            Truthfully, my wife, a Vassar English grad, would set me right in every case if I asked her to edit each piece — I used to do so but it is not really her job to see that I don’t embarrass myself in digital print.

            Were I to be asked to publish something in a journal or magazine, I would bribe my wife into editing it for me. She did so for the piece I sent to Andy Revkin for the NY Times — and it was perfect as a result.

  16. So, just for clarity….. you put up some structure… and you have fulsome evidence that the existence of similar structures results in dead birds… is that an affirmative or incidental action…

    Just a question floating around the windmill of my mind…

    • Michael ==> If your structure is for some legal purpose, which is not the killing of birds, then you are not guilty under the new interpretation of the MBTA. You MIGHT be guilty under some other environmental law or regulation — there may be local or state ordinances that require you to take all due care in the design to help prevent stupid birds from killing themselves by flying into your structure.

  17. Since most states have defined hunting seasons and bag limits for many birds including turkey, ducks, geese, doves, quail, grouse, pheasant, etc., there is obviously an exception. Not sure if it’s still the case, but we used to shoot birds that were considered a nuisance such as pigeons, starlings and crows. And don’t tell anyone, but we still might pick off any cowbird that is dumb enough to hang out at our feeders.

    • Rick ==> The Federal government has agreements with states to issue and regulate the hunting of migratory birds such as ducks through the issuance of permits. The fees the states collect are often used to fund habitat to help increase the success of these species.

      Two of the starlings are on the protected list.

      • “fund habitat”

        Do they, like, toss the money out into a field, or something?

        /AOC impersonation.

  18. Prosecutorial discretion is is important for trying to achieve justice, but it takes wise, honest, and appropriately compassionate people to administer it fairly. There’s the problem.

    • Gary ==> If only this had been a case of “Prosecutorial discretion” — instead, it was political and social bias (environmental outloook, anti-corporatism, anti-fossil fuels bias, etc) and actual agenda-driven advocacy-groups that often reported and demanded federal action.

  19. “What does this mean for you and I [sic]?”
    “Local Audubon groups are people like you and I [sic] and they do good work at the local level.”
    “That means that you and I are safe”

    I guess 1 out of 3 ain’t bad.

    • mickey ==> My editor is busy with charitable work this week and has been unavailable to set me straight. She’ll whip me into shape when she gets back…..

    • R Moore ==> Thanks for giving me an out. My High School English teacher was not so charitable … never let me live it down.

  20. Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic – the secular religion (“ethics”), huh. The wind turbine gauntlets, and solar ovens, are an affirmative threat to the birds, and bats.

  21. Reminds me of that TV show WKRP in Cincinnati where for Thanksgiving they decided to give away turkeys dropped from a helicopter. “As God is my witness I thought turkeys could fly.” Most people don’t realize that wild turkeys can fly, but not very well.

    • Sam ==> “Despite their weight, wild turkeys, unlike their domesticated counterparts, are agile, fast fliers. In ideal habitat of open woodland or wooded grasslands,[20] they may fly beneath the canopy top and find perches. They usually fly close to the ground for no more than 400 m (a quarter mile).”

      While I do not hunt myself, I have accompanied my sons while they chase turkey through our local woods — take my word for it as well, they can fly.

      • They can also run like the dickens. Usain Bolt might catch one, but no mere mortal could manage it.

  22. turkey VULTURES are on list not wild turkeys.
    hell we have huge hunting seasons here in Maine for them.
    I have tons (literally) of them in my roads often, in 2001 or so hit a huge one on I95 with my 89 marquis and left its neck and head stuck in the grill for months as a warning to other animals…..

  23. Absolute power. Reading I thought absolute power.

    Dictionary definition: Complete authority to act in an area, not restrained by supervision or review.

    In this case, or common sense.

  24. What about nuisance birds? When was a kid growing up on a farm, we had a dozen or so pecan trees. I used to snipe crows with a .22 rifle. My dad told me to hang the dead on a fence for the other crows to see. I guess I’d still be locked up.

    • Alan ==> The following crows are on the MBTA list:
      CROW,
      American, Corvus brachyrhynchos (Thois one is the common American crow)
      Fish, Corvus ossifragus
      Hawaiian, Corvus hawaiiensis
      Mariana, Corvus kubaryi
      Northwestern, Corvus caurinus
      Tamaulipas, Corvus imparatus
      White-necked, Corvus leucognaphalus

      Under the previous interpretation, you were guilty of a Federal offense, unless your state allowed permits for crows.

    • Carl ==> thank you — punishing oil drilling utfits while excusing wind farms is entirely political.

  25. So we have an alternate ending to the movie “Sully”.
    “Captain Sullivan, we find you acted heroically in saving all the lives of the crew and passengers of your aircraft, but you caused the deaths of 20 migratory birds, so you are sentenced to 10 years in prison with a $300,000 fine”

    • David Chorley ==> Sully is a personal hero — an example of true professionalism.

      (I may be believing the myth, but base my view on the same and next day news reports and interviews).

  26. Kip, outstanding work. Let me add my small contribution, which is my own explanation of why the wind turbines kill so many birds … curiously, the answer is bugs.

    And a further detail. It was Comrade Obama who made it legal for wind turbines to kill eagles, first capped at 1,200 in 2013, and then raised to 4,200 in 2017.

    On January 17, 2017, the number of bald eagles that can be killed by wind farm permit holders will increase from the current legal number of 1,100 to 4,200—almost a quadrupling. The Fish and Wildlife Service is issuing new 30-year permits that allow the additional eagles to be killed or injured without prosecution under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The fee for a long-term permit is $36,000. A permitted facility that exceeds its authorized eagle kill limit will not be fined or criminally prosecuted, although it could be “subject to an enforcement action at any time for unpermitted prior take of eagles.” [i] Under the previous rule, the permits were for a five-year term.

    That law itself is a crime. If oil companies kill eagles they pay huge fines, and wind turbines are given a free pass. Green ideology gone insane. See here for details.

    And here’s my post on the subject of bugs and birds, Explaining Wind Turbine Lethality

    w.

    • w. ==> Thanks for weighting in on the Wind Turbine issue — I purposefully avoided it as it would just have sidelined the issue I was trying to cover.

      The Bald Eagle killing is a perfect example of “selective enforcement” — had you shot an eagle that was preying on your backyard chicken flock, you’d be toast. But you local wind turbine farm can kill them by the thousands — because “we like wind farms….”

  27. If the same laws applied to Kangaroos in Australia, there would be an awful lot of drivers facing prosecution.
    Sad, but these brainless creatures jump out from the side of the road without any warning and ultimately get killed or injured and there is rarely anything that can be done to avoid them.
    The car repair industry does very well out of it though

    • Kit4short ==> In my area, it is white tiled deer that wait quiet;ly by the roadside for passing cars before leaping to their deaths-by-collision.

  28. 6. 5G Danger: LA Firefighters Develop Ailments After Being Too Close to Towers
    In this video a 25 year veteran firefighter from Los Angeles compares cell towers to cigarettes. He calls for a stop to the cell/mobile phone base stations being built on or near fire stations. Firefighters are not the only ones suffering the effects; it was reported that hundreds of birds fell from the sky in the Netherlands during a 5G test.
    https://www.globalresearch.ca/5g-danger-13-reasons-5g-wireless-technology-will-be-a-catastrophe-for-humanity/5680503

    • jmorpuss ==> Personally, I don’t think that that organization publishes scientifically sound information.

      Other readings can click through and decide for themselves.

    • If our firefighter is worried about a 5G tower, she should throw away her cell phone immediately. When you’re making a phone call, and holding the cell phone next to your head, its signal strength, as measured at your head, is much much much stronger than the signal coming from the cell tower, as measured at your head.

      Take note of the cell tower antennas. They are very directional, especially in the vertical plane. If you’re standing at the base of the tower, the signal from its antennas will probably be weaker than if you’re standing a mile away.

      Cell phone towers are not a problem in terms of human health. The problem, if it exists at all, is the cell phone right in your own hand.

  29. Wind turbines kill between 214,000 and 368,000 birds annually. It seems clear that erecting a large set of whirling 200 foot long blades with the tips spinning at 120 mph is not an incidental action, and it will kill birds.

  30. Kip, thank you for an interesting post. As an avid feeder of birds ( quail block, several suet cages and scattered seed right now and I make one or two GALLONS of nectar every day during peak hummer season) I was fascinated to read about the bureaucratic overreach of the previous administration. Much what one would expect from Progressive religious fanatics since their dogma identifies government as God, with pols and bureaucrats the saints and angels of the pantheon.
    While I have been aware that possessing an eagle feather is a federal crime, I believe I am now protected from prosecution since I currently identify as a lesbian, Native American woman. Hopefully this will, at minimum, keep me out of a men’s prison if I am ever convicted of having a feather that an eagle may or may not have given to me in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Come to think of it, I believe I might have had that possible feather with me when I suffered that boating accident out on the lake with all my firearms. What are the odds!

    • Abolition Man ==> If you shift identities often enough and fast enough, they’ll never catch you!

  31. In Canada turkeys do not migrate………… they run for The House of Commons. (many get elected)

    • Andre ==> Same here in the State of New York — they end up in the legislature and as Governors.

      My boys all hunt the feathered variety in season and we have wonderful turkey roasts. (I don’t hunt.)

  32. oddly enough this over reach been an issue in Maine well before obama was even a senator.
    all due to tribes getting leeway to break laws rest of us have to follow.

    • dmacleo ==> It is not my issue that certain selected groups — Native Americans — “get” to kill eagles for their feathers. It is that tje Federal government had criminalized accidental events.

      Although I am not a certified member of a Native American tribe, my father was born on the Pine Ridge along the banks of Wounded Knee Creek. I don’t knowingly own any eagle feathers.

  33. Back in the first environmental movement circa a half century ago federal agencies, some quite new, in my experience considered the constitution. For example, I recall discussions about how the migratory bird treaty would be constitutional, how it expanded probably like many other laws and regulations.

    Besides trucks, how many locomotives hit birds, they are noisy, but not as much as steam engines. Is the US government Amtrack line guilty? Are turkey vultures covered, at least the black migrates some? Lots of them scavenging get scavenged, I and wonder how increased speed limits have been responsible. Texas has two lane roads with 75mph limits, some with little shoulder and limited visibility.

    • HD Hoese ==> One of the links in the essay gives a good history of the MBTA and all its amendments over the years.

      Yes, turkey vultures (and blacks) are on the MBTA list. I see vulture corpses along the NY State Thruway quite often — they get hit approaching or leaving another bit of road kill.

  34. Here in the UK we have until last year had general licences allowing the killing of certain pest birds such as corvids and wood pigeons.
    Last spring some activists took to the law saying that the licences were illegal. The result was that the licences were suspended at a crucial time of year when sheep were lambing and songbirds nesting.
    There was a great kerfuffle and the licences were reinstated temporarily, but are to be reviewed again this spring.
    See http://www.basc.org.uk/gl/

    • StephenP ==> Can you give us a comment on the dangers to new born lambs from certain birds? Most readers may not be familiar with the issue.

  35. Nicholas, on the altar of political correctness and Progressivism what are a few million birds and bats every year? At least 100,000,000 people were murdered or starved to death by their blemishless leaders in the 20th Century; why would such ideologues worry about such lower creatures? Especially warmongering hawks and eagles, and scary nighttime insectivores!

  36. I believe cats – domestic and feral – are the biggest killers by far of U.S. songbirds. Don’t remember any details, but I’ve seen unbelievable estimates of – I think – over a billion victims of cats in a single state.

    • navy bob ==> All domestic cats should be confined to their owners property and be subject to capture by animal control officers if found on the loose. Feral, free-living un-owned cats, should be rounded up and euthanized.

      Other than that, I don;t have a strong opinion.

    • navy bob
      I suspect that number cannot be substantiated. Can and will cats take birds? Certainly. But, so do bobcats, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, weasels, and raptors, to name just a few. The wild animals are more highly motivated than a well-fed house cat! If all domesticated and feral cats were to disappear tomorrow, it would mean that the wild animals would have more to eat and their populations could be expected to increase to fill the ecological niche vacated by the cats, leaving a net change of zero in the bird kills.

      I have a stray cat that I took in about 5 years ago. She has brought many chipmunks to the door. However, she has never brought a single bird. I personally believe that ‘birders’ tend to overestimate the impact of cats.

      • Clyde ==> See my earlier essays about birds and cats. Cats are not that skilled at catching and killing adult birds — they get a few. But they are death-on-wheels for ground-nesting and low nesting birds whose nests they rob, eating the chicks like my kids used to eat gummie-bears.

        There is solid science done with recording cat-mounted cameras.

        • But, the unanswered question is whether feral cats play an ‘unnatural’ role in keeping bird populations in check, or just act as proxies for other wild predators that would otherwise be more numerous.

          There is a high mortality rate for all new-born creatures, which decreases as they gain more strength and experience.

          Have comparative studies been conducted with other wild predators? If not, then it isn’t even possible to properly allocate the impact of cats in the total scheme of things. We get a number for cats, but what is the proportion of kills for all predators?

  37. Kip,
    One grammar rule says no to s comma after “and” per your sentence above.
    Just sayin’ hoew some pedants think. Misuse of the rules in H. W. Fowler’s 1926 reference book on the English language is now widespread. We used to have written exams about that book. Geoff S
    p.s. As I was typing this, a news reporter spoke of “the amount of viewers watching that TV show….”. Horrible mangling.

    • …intend to do so….

      (My mind/finger interface sometimes apparently sends the wrong but related word down the line to my fingers, that have their own muscle memory for typing words, even if wrong. It is like a biological auto-spell corrector.)

  38. Too bad the car in the picture with a turkey in it’s windshield wasn’t a Tesla.
    THAT would have been fitting.

  39. “The Trump Administration’s Bird Killer Department, formerly known as the Department of the Interior, just gets crueler and more craven every day…”

    …quoth the Craven, “Never more.”

    Whatever that means.

  40. Well, there goes my vistor’s Visa. While guesting with your Air Force I must have hit about a dozen large feathered friends with my F-4! A great KFC aroma when the engine hoovered up one of them. Talk about the law of unintended consequences…

  41. Surely the biggest killers are the rotating guillotines aka windmills. Therefore is the GND a conspiracy to commit a federal crime that crosses state lines as they know that these devices kill birds indiscriminately, thus making it a felony?

  42. We live in interesting times, as in the old Chinese curse. Ambergris, expelled by sperm whales, and long an ingredient of fine perfumes, cannot be possessed legally in the United States; Australia also has trade restrictions on it. Most people could not identify it. Yet, if an American beachcomber were to find some, and take it home, they would be in violation of a US federal law supposedly protecting endangered species.

    A recent news article that I read suggested that natural ambergris could sometimes be hundreds of years old. Besides, if a currently living whale expels the ambergris through vomiting or a bowel movement, someone collecting it on a beach is not threatening the animal. The logic-challenged people who pushed to have these laws enacted have their hearts in the right place. However, they appear to have ‘Schiff for brains.’ I’m reminded of the old saw about “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” This is another example of so-called “virtue signaling.” People can unknowingly break the law and risk punishment. Even knowingly collecting ambergris is not a threat to sperm whales. Yet, those who think that ideology and animals have a higher importance than human freedom have caused laws to be passed that do nothing but potentially entrap unwary beachcombers. There is something about the times that we live in, such that many people seem to have lost their ability to rationally process reality. We see it with respect to laws about migrating birds and claims about anthropogenic “global heating” and the oceans “becoming more acidic.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambergris

  43. We used to have lots of various birds. Then a flock of crows moved into the belt of spruce along the sea front. Now we see migrating birds spring and fall, but few nesting in the area. What infuriates me is the majority opinion that the decrease in birds is due to CC.

    • FranBC ==> Crows are omnivorous — they eat almost anything — especially and including the nestlings and eggs of other birds. That means the migrating birds will not nest in areas with crows around.

  44. We have a bald eagle nesting tree on our property. Occasionally, a feather or two can be seen in our yard. I had to tell my grandson, that it is against the law for him to pick up and keep one or more of those feathers.

    There ought to be a law against absurd laws.

  45. Epilogue:

    There are some real good actions taking place in Washington D.C. to rein in the overreach of some of the US Federal agencies. Recent wins for the American citizenry are changes made to the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule, the ongoing Secret Science Rule, and now the change in interpretation in the MBTA being made into a rule.

    In each of these cases, something good was originally intended by the law or rule, but the focus and interpretations were changed over the years under pressure from advocacy organizations and groups.

    Regardless of present-day politics, these are good changes.

    There may be protections and regulations that need to be made anew to replace the misguided efforts now nullified. There rules and regulations should be made by the legislature and not by agency fiat and not through pressure brought by advocacy group lobbying efforts or through the illegal “sue and settle” method used so much recently.

    I appreciate all the comments and support — even the grammatical and spelling corrections.

    If I haven’t answered your urgent question in all of the above, feel free to email me at my first name at the domain i4.net.

    Thanks for reading.

    # # # # #

  46. I’m glad I’m in Ozas I’ve never heard of such laws here.
    Driving along country roads today (torrential rain after two and a half months of bushfires) I saw countless kangaroo carcasses by the side of the road.
    There was one live one eating grass on the verge, about three feet from the edge of the road which I only saw when it lifted its head up just before I whizzed by. Luckily it was laid back about the whole thing, a roo in panic doesn’t know which direction to run and sometimes hops in front of the vehicle.
    The only herd I saw was by the road but turned and hopped away from the road back into the bush as the car approached.
    They/we live to hop another day.

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