Reuniting and the Law

All native wild birds (except upland game birds) are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  This makes it illegal to disturb a federally-protected bird while it is nesting, or to have in your possession any federally-protected bird, even if you are trying to help it.

Wildlife rehabilitators must be licensed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in order to handle these federally-protected birds.    Anyone finding a grounded juvenile native bird should contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately.  Reuniting any protected bird species must be done under the direct supervision of a federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator or other federal agent.

Laws protecting native mammals vary from state to state.  Some state laws additionally restrict handling of any rabies vector species, such as a Raccoon, Bobcat, Skunk, or Fox.  If you are attempting to help a native wild mammal, you should immediately contact a wildlife rehabilitator licensed to handle mammals in your state.  Reuniting must be done under the direct supervision of a state-licensed wildlife rehabilitator.