HR 5552: Migratory Bird Protection Act of 2020

If enacted, this bill would prohibit the incidental taking (e.g., capturing or killing) of migratory birds by commercial activities unless the activity is authorized under a permit or is identified as posing de minimis risk to migratory birds.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the term “take” means “to pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect, or attempt to pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect,” with “incidental” take referring to an unintentional taking.

The bill directs USFWS to regulate such incidental taking, including by (1) issuing general permits for certain industries, (2) creating a mitigation fee for any incidental taking of migratory birds, and (3) identifying categories of de minimis risk activities that are exempt from liability for the taking of migratory birds.

In addition, the USFWS would be required to establish and maintain a research program: (1) to evaluate the impacts of commercial activities on birds, (2) to evaluate the effectiveness of best management practices and technologies to avoid or minimize such impacts, and (3) to develop new or improved best management practices and technologies.