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Posted: May 13, 2021

Written by Elizabeth Muller, Environmental Scientist

Many native birds, including raptors, are protected at the state and federal level by various laws, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) of 1918, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) of 1940. In order to comply with these regulations, field surveys may be required prior to the start of, and throughout, construction activities. Early planning and thorough field surveys can help avoid costly project delays and any penalties associated with violations, and most importantly, ensure the safety of any nesting raptors onsite.

Raptors are medium to large size birds, such as hawks, owls, eagles, and vultures, that primarily hunt and feed on vertebrates such as rodents, fish, and other birds. Raptors and their nests are typically protected by both federal and state regulations. The MBTA makes it unlawful without a waiver to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, or sell approximately 1,100 species of birds that are listed as migratory birds. The statute does not discriminate between live or dead birds and also grants full protection to any bird parts including feathers, eggs, and nests. Additionally, threatened and endangered raptors are afforded similar protection under the ESA, and Bald and Golden Eagles are afforded additional protection under the BGEPA.

Before construction activities or development can take place, monitoring protocols must be established between contractors and regulatory agencies to ensure the protection of any raptors that may be nesting on site. Raptor construction monitoring protocols are site-specific and determined through consultation with federal regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and state regulatory agencies such as the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), or Pennsylvania Game Commision (PGC).

We work closely with state and federal agencies to balance the needs of our clients with the necessary protection of nesting raptors as well as their habitats. Our staff biologists have conducted numerous raptor surveys to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations and have assisted landowners and developers with the environmental permitting processes.

If You Have Any Questions Regarding Raptor Habitat Evaluation Or Compliance With The Above-Mentioned Regulations, Contact Us.

Ms. Muller specializes in wetland delineation and rare, threatened, and endangered species surveys.


In November 2019, Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants, Inc. joined Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) as a wholly-owned subsidiary and will be doing business as Amy Greene Environmental, a Davey Company. We are thrilled to expand our team of experts with additional resources and opportunities to support you.

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