Regulations for Bird Traps
Rule 68A-16.006, F.A.C. prohibits the use, placement, and possession of bird traps, or allowing the placement of bird traps, without a permit, unless otherwise exempted in the rule. The rule provides an additional tool to FWC law enforcement officers to address illegal trapping of native songbirds, which has long been a concern in Florida.
All bird traps must be labeled, even if a person has a permit or meets one of the exceptions in the rule. Bird Traps must be labeled with the FWC permit or registration number or the rule exemption; and the name, address, and phone number of the person or company placing the trap. Traps without labeling are subject to removal by law enforcement.
- Persons possessing a federal permit authorizing the trapping of birds listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq., may use, place, or possess bird traps or allow bird traps to be placed for the purposes specified in the permit.
- Persons authorized to trap resident game birds under a state permit or under Chapter 68A-12, F.A.C., may use, place, or possess bird traps or allow bird traps to be placed for the purposes specified in the state permit or in Chapter 68A-12, F.A.C.
- Persons possessing a falconry permit may use, place, or possess bird traps or allow bird traps to be placed for the purposes specified in the permit. Persons possessing a falconry permit also may capture birds that are not resident game birds and that are not included in 50 C.F.R. §10.13 (November 1, 2013), List of Migratory Birds, to capture, feed, or train raptors possessed under the person’s falconry permit.
- Persons authorized to take wildlife at airports pursuant to 68A-9.012, F.A.C., may use, place, or possess bird traps or allow bird traps to be placed to conduct activities authorized under Rule 68A-9.012, F.A.C.
- Persons possessing a federal authorization to trap nuisance, depredating or injurious birds except migratory game birds and birds listed in Chapter 68A-27 or Rule 68A-16.002, F.A.C., may use, place, or possess bird traps or allow bird traps to be placed while conducting the authorized activities.
- Captive wildlife facilities holding a valid captive wildlife permit may use, place, or possess bird traps on the permitted property or on private property with landowner permission to capture escaped captive birds, provided the permit holder gives notification prior to placement and use of traps to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Law Enforcement (888-404-3922). Notification must include the number and species of escaped birds, along with the number and type of bird traps set; if traps are not on the permitted property, notification should also include the location of the property.
- Persons or companies possessing one of the following licenses or certifications issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) pursuant to Chapter 482, F.S., may use, place, or possess bird traps for the capture of birds that are not resident game birds and that are not included in 50 C.F.R. §10.13 (November 1, 2013), List of Migratory Birds:
- Licenses issued pursuant to Section 482.071, F.S.
- Certificates for general household pest control and lawn and ornamental pest control issued pursuant to subsection 482.111(2), F.S.
- Limited certification for governmental pesticide applicators or private applicators in the structural category (Rule 5E-14, F.A.C.) issued pursuant to Section 482.155, F.S.
- Limited certification for commercial wildlife management personnel issued pursuant to Section 482.157, F.S.
- Businesses or corporations registered with the Florida Department of State and engaged in the sale of bird traps may possess bird traps for the purposes of manufacture and sale and are exempt from labeling traps. The exception does not allow for use or placement of bird traps.
Permits and Registrations
Scientific Collecting: Persons trapping birds for research or monitoring should include use, placement, and possession of bird traps in applications for a Scientific Collecting permit.
Nonnative Nuisance Birds: Individuals that trap non-native nuisance birds but do not have a pest control license or certification from FDACS under Section 482, Florida Statutes, may apply for a Bird Trap Permit.
Education and Exhibition: The possession of bird traps indoors for educational or exhibition purposes is prohibited unless the bird trap is registered with FWC.
A bird trap is any device, material, substance or enclosure designed or used to catch and retain birds, typically by allowing entry but not exit or by catching hold of a part of the body. Poultry coops and lofts for domestic pigeons are not considered bird traps.
The new rule includes prohibitions on the use, placement, and possession of bird traps, as well as a prohibition on allowing bird traps to be placed, without a permit or unless otherwise exempted in the rule.
Yes, the rule language includes exceptions, which are listed above.
The rule describes permitting requirements for other legal uses. For example, researchers seeking to use traps to capture non-listed and state threatened birds for scientific purposes will continue to obtain permits under Rules 68A-9.002 and 68A-27.007, F.A.C., respectively. The rule language also contains a permitting process for individuals that trap non-native nuisance birds but do not have a pest control license or certification from FDACs under Florida Statute 482.
Yes, all bird traps must be labeled, even if a person has a permit, registration or meets one of the exceptions in the rule. Bird Traps must be labeled with the FWC permit or registration number or the rule exemption; and the name, address, and phone number of the person or company placing the trap. Traps without labeling are subject to removal by law enforcement.
The extent of illegal trapping is difficult to determine because illegal activities are conducted in secret and are therefore difficult to quantify. However, federal and state law enforcement officers in south Florida often encounter traps deployed to illegally trap birds, and officers think that the practice is widespread. In 2017-18, FWC Law Enforcement seized approximately 100 traps, not including violations discovered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and in joint operations.
Through a joint operation between FWC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, six individuals were charged in April 2018 with the trafficking of over 400 protected birds.
Officers were not able to make a case unless they caught the offenders with a bird in the trap or in the person’s possession. This compromised officers’ ability to enforce existing protections and led to the continued loss of native birds. The rule allows officers to better address trafficking operations by regulating the use, placement and possession of bird traps.
Violation of the rule is a second-degree misdemeanor; the penalty for a first offense is a fine up to $500 or up to 60 days in jail, with escalating penalties for repeat offenders.