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Know the Consequences – Migratory Bird Treaty Act


Know the Consequences – Migratory Bird Treaty Act
June 13, 2023 12:05 amViews: 324

Flock Off has generated quite a bit of interest in the OOH industry with their humane solution to stop birds from landing on structures.

Leslie Wescott is the VP of Sales-OOH for Flock Off and she shares about the Flock Off solution and why operators need to be aware of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Let’s start with a simple question. Why should I be concerned about birds on my structures?

Birds on structures can present multiple challenges for billboard operators. They are known to cause serious damage to the asset in many different ways. They will poke holes in vinyl copy and use vinyl pieces to nest. If the birds find their way into the head-plate, that potentially can turn into a very expensive problem to fix. Their feces are also highly acidic and will cause serious corrosion over time, shortening the life span of the asset greatly. Pest birds will also require recurring maintenance and cleaning costs that add up quickly, as well as create safety hazards and risk for billboard operators and employees.

Billboard operators also need to be very aware of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act when it comes to protected birds. The MBTA is a federal law enacted in 1918 that is designed to protect wildlife and conservation of migratory birds in the U.S.

Why is it important for billboard operators to be aware of the MBTA?

It is a well known fact, birds find billboards and other elevated structures to be extremely attractive nesting and roosting platforms. Failure to abide by the rules and regulations of the MBTA can result in criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment. Enforcement of the MBTA falls under the jurisdiction of the United States Fish and Wildlife (USFWS), which is responsible for implementing regulations, issuing permits, and investigating violations. In addition to these federal protections, some states may also have regulations in place protecting certain species.

What are the rules and regulations of the MBTA?

Under the MBTA, it is illegal to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, possess, sell, purchase, transport, or export migratory birds or their parts, nests, or eggs without appropriate permits. The act covers over 1,000 species of migratory birds, which include the Osprey, Red Tail Hawk, Turkey Vulture, and many others common to be found nesting and roosting on billboards.

You can find the full list here: List of Birds Protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (2020) |

What happens if you have a protected bird nesting on your structure?

The MBTA prohibits the disturbance, destruction, or removal of nests, eggs, or birds protected under the act without the appropriate permits or exemptions.

Appropriate authorities should be contacted, such as the local office of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), or state wildlife agencies, to report the presence of the protected bird nest. They can provide guidance and help assess the situation on how to proceed in compliance with the MBTA.

In most cases, authorities will advise leaving the nest undisturbed until the birds have completed their nesting cycle. This is known to greatly affect any planned maintenance or construction in order to avoid interfering with the nesting birds during these critical stages.

How can billboard operators avoid losing revenue due to birds on our structures?

They can take preventative measures by implementing an effective bird deterrent solution that can humanely prevent birds from landing and nesting on their structures.

The Outdoor community has recently partnered with Flock Off, a new technology that is designed and proven to stop birds from being able to land on structures, creating a billboard specific solution. To learn more about this solution, reach out to Leslie Wescott, VP Of Sales- OOH at [email protected]. You can also visit our website at