3-200-13: Migratory Bird – Depredation

A federal depredation permit authorizes you to capture or kill birds to help reduce damage to agricultural crops/livestock, private property, human health & safety (including airports), and protected wildlife. A depredation permit is intended to provide short-term relief for bird damage until long-term nonlethal measures can be implemented to eliminate or significantly reduce the problem.

What is depredation?

Depredation is damage or loss caused by birds. Depredation includes agricultural damage, private property damage, threats to human health and safety, and threats to recovery of protected wildlife.

Who Needs It

The entity who is:

  • experiencing the damage,
  • responsible for compliance with the permit, and
  • has authority to implement nonlethal measures should apply for the permit.

Applicants are most commonly the landowner, occasionally a land manager or resource manager. Private landowners, managers of public lands, State, Tribal, and local governments, and other entities, such as homeowners associations, with legal jurisdiction for the property involved may apply for depredation permits. Pest control and other contractors may assist permittees in completing an application as well as conducting the work as a sub-permittee, but may not apply for the depredation permit.

You should apply for a depredation permit only after deterrents such as hazing and habitat modification prove unsuccessful. If a permit is issued, you will be expected to continue nonlethal measures in conjunction with any killing or trapping authorized.

Depredation Orders and Control Orders authorize the take of migratory birds without a permit in certain circumstances. The regulations governing Depredation and Control Orders are located at 50 CFR 21.43-21.55 Subpart D of the eCFR. The regulations outline the purpose of take, who can take, and the species, method, location, and other restrictions on take. Annual reports are required for most Orders using form 3-2436.

What is covered by this permit?

A permit is required to destroy an active bird nest (one with eggs or chicks present).

What is not covered by this permit?

You do not need a federal depredation permit to simply harass or scare birds (except eagles and federally listed threatened or endangered species).

A permit is not needed to destroy inactive bird nests, provided the nest is destroyed and not kept. An inactive bird nest is one without eggs or chicks present. The Nest Destruction Migratory Bird Permit Memorandum (MBPM-2; April 15, 2003) provides additional guidance on nest destruction.

A different permit is required to disturb or destroy nests of Bald Eagles or Golden Eagles and birds listed as federally threatened or endangered.

Nonlethal Measures

Nonlethal measures are methods that prevent or minimize bird damage without take (take includes purposefully killing or trapping birds). Methods include harassment (e.g., loud noises, pyrotechnics, propane cannons, scarecrows, dogs, trained raptors), habitat management (e.g., grass management, vegetative barriers, fencing and netting), cultural practices (e.g., seasonal timing, landscape placement), and policies (e.g., no feeding policies). Wildlife Services, part of the USDA, can provide information and expertise about preventing depredation and nonlethal methods.

Visit USDA

Form 37

Wildlife Services is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and provides expertise to help resolve wildlife conflicts. They can assess your particular situation and provide recommendations of short-term measures to provide relief from bird damage and long-term measures to help eliminate or significantly reduce the problem. Wildlife Services also provides a “Form 37 Permit Review Form”. This form is required as part of your Depredation Permit application. You must call Wildlife Services (866-487-3297) to obtain a Form 37.


Submit an Application

To submit an application online or through the mail, follow the instructions on our ePermits site

Need to submit your annual report?

Application Fees

  • Application Fee - $100 
  • Amendment Fee - $50
  • Application fee is non-refundable.
  • Federal, Tribal, State, and local government agencies, and those acting on the behalf of such agencies, are exempt from the processing fee (documentation may be required).


Animal Owner/Pet Owner
Business Owner/Commercial Business
Government or Government Representative - Local Government
Government or Government Representative - State Government
Landowner - Commercial
Landowner - Individual
Private Land Owners/Managers
Public Land Manager
City or Township Governments
County Governments
For-profit Organizations Other Than Small Businesses
Higher Education Institutions - Private
Higher Education Institutions - Public and State Controlled
Independent School Districts
Native American Tribal Governments - Federally Recognized
Native American Tribal Organizations - Not Federally Recognized Tribal Governments
Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) Status - Not Higher Education Institutions
Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) Status - Not Higher Education Institutions
Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
Small Businesses
Special District Governments
State Governments
ePermit ID
United States