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Table of Contents


  1. How do the Repositories get their non-eagle feathers?
  2. Can I send feathers or dead birds that I find, even though I do not have a permit?
  3. What should I do if I want to report a dead bird?
  4. Why is it illegal to salvage a bird without a permit?
  5. What bird species do the Repositories accept?
  6. How can permittees donate birds and feathers?
  7. How do I make a donation?
  8. How should the items be packed for shipment?
  9. How should the bags/containers be marked?
  10. What information is needed for each shipment?
  11. What if my business or institution is permit-exempt?
  12. What does ‘permit-exempt’ mean?
  13. Does the Fish and Wildlife Service provide mailing boxes or postage?

  1. How do the Repositories get their non-eagle feathers?
    Each Repository is authorized to acquire feathers, parts and/or carcasses of migratory birds – other than eagles – from any U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) permittee specifically allowed to donate these items. Certain zoological, scientific, and educational institutions that are lawfully exempt from permit requirements may also provide these items.
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  2. Can I send feathers or dead birds that I find, even though I do not have a permit?
    No. It is not legal to pick up federally protected migratory bird feathers, parts and/or carcasses. A salvage permit is required to pick up, possess and transport these items.
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  3. What should I do if I want to report a dead bird?
    You may contact the USFWS, your State Game and Fish office, or a Repository to report the bird?s location. These entities can salvage the bird or attempt to locate another salvage permit holder that may be in a nearer location.
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  4. Why is it illegal to salvage a bird without a permit?
    Unfortunately, birds are often killed by illegal activities such as shooting, poisoning, or lethal hazing. Even deaths that result from unintentional causes like disease, collisions or electrocutions may require the proper authorities to be involved. If the bird is moved, it is difficult to survey the scene and accurately assess what might have happened. Permits became necessary when poaching and market hunting put many migratory bird populations at risk. To ensure that birds have not been taken illegally, no person may possess or transport a salvaged bird without the proper permit.
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  5. What bird species do the Repositories accept?
    The Repositories operate as a collection point for feathers, parts and carcasses that have religious and cultural significance to Native Americans. Because there are so many Native American nations and tribes in the United States, virtually any species could be of cultural value and requested as an integral part of a traditional ceremony. It is up the individual Repository to accept items according to anticipated demand and storage space.
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  6. How can permittees donate birds and feathers?
    The conditions on your permit will show the authorized methods of disposal. If you are unsure about what your permit covers in regard to disposal or donation, contact your Regional Migratory Bird Permits Office. Once you are sure you are permitted to donate, see Donation Fact Sheet for more information.
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  7. How do I make a donation?

    To make donations to Liberty Wildlife, please contact:
    Robert Mesta, Non-Eagle Repository Coordinator
    Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation
    863-332-8437
    feathers@libertywildlife.org

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  8. How should the items be packed for shipment?
    Separate containers should be used for loose feathers, birds parts (such as talons), and from whole bird carcasses. Clearly mark the bags/containers as to their contents.
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  9. How should the bags/containers be marked?
    Write the permit number and species of bird on each separate container. If you are not sure of the species, do not guess?indicate that it is ?species unknown.? If you know the location where the item was found (city-county-state), please include that information as well.
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  10. What information is needed for each shipment?
    The Repository will need the name of the business or institution, principal officer?s name, address, telephone number, and fax/email if applicable. Provide your permit number authorizing the disposition of feathers and/or parts of migratory birds. Include the type of permit, and the expiration date of the permit.
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  11. What if my business or institution is permit-exempt?
    If you are an entity that has been determined to be exempt from the permit requirement, per 50 CFR 21.12(b), please request a copy of a Letter of Authorization (LOA) from your Regional Migratory Bird Permits Office. Include this with the shipment and the other required information. Repositories cannot accept shipments without an FWS permit number or copy of the LOA as proof that items are legal to accept for distribution.
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  12. What does ‘permit-exempt’ mean?
    Veterinarians and certain institutions are not required to have an FWS permit to possess migratory birds. The Code of Federal Regulations allows accredited institutional members of the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (AAZPA) and some public scientific or educational institutions exemption from the permit requirement, provided that state regulations are met. Contact your Regional Migratory Bird Permits Office for further information.
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  13. Does the Fish and Wildlife Service provide mailing boxes or postage?
    No. The Repositories are not receiving federal funding and donations are strictly voluntary. You may contact either Repository to get information on any suggestions they may have for combining shipments or other methods to minimize costs.
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