Environmental Regulatory Compliance for
Highway Development and Operations

Migratory Birds

Potential Approval, Permit or Code of Practice Requirements:

  • Bird Banding Permit — Authorization to band migratory birds and for the use of auxiliary markers (radios, color markers, etc.) is accomplished through a Bird Banding Permit, which is issued by the CWS Bird Banding Office in Hull, Quebec.
    Bird Banding Permit Application under the Migratory Birds Convention Act
  • An Environment Canada (CWS) Scientific Research Permit is required for any research that will in any way disturb or potentially harm any migratory bird or the nest or egg of a migratory bird. Monitoring bird nests may require a Scientific Research Permit even though the monitoring only requires occasional inspection of the nest. Collecting birds, their nests or eggs requires a Scientific Research Permit.
    Contact List for Scientific Research Permits


The purpose of the Migratory Birds Convention Act is to implement the Migratory Birds Convention (1995 Protocol amending the 1916 Convention) by protecting and conserving migratory birds — as populations and individual birds — and their nests. Under the convention Canada and the United States coordinate their efforts to ensure long-term conservation of migratory bird populations. The Migratory Birds Regulations bans persons from disturbing, destroying or taking a nest, egg, nest shelter, eider duck shelter or duck box of a migratory bird and bans all activities that are harmful to migratory birds, their eggs or their nests, except as allowed for under authority of a permit. List of birds protected under the Act.

Many of the listed birds are common and frequently encountered on highway projects. To protect these birds and comply with the Act, clearing should not be done during the nesting season. If clearing during the nesting season is unavoidable, it should be preceded by a nest survey to confirm that active nests will not be affected. A vegetation buffer must be retained around each active nest. The nest survey protocol should be developed and implemented by a qualified professional. The protocol must be acceptable to Environment Canada.


Relevant Section or Regulation:

Regulating Agency:


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