Legality of offering parrot and macaw feathers for sale? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Legality of offering parrot and macaw feathers for sale?

05-13-2003, 08:08 AM
I'm sure there are several on the forum that can answer this question for me: Is it legal to offer feathers from a parrot or macaw for sale in the US? A co-worker of mine owns several parrots and macaws, all captive-bred of course, and has a surplus of feathers from normal molting periods. Many of these are in very good condition, and I've seen that certain feathers are used in traditional patterns, so I thought I'd just ask the question. The birds in question are the Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot, African Grey Parrot, Blue and Gold Macaw, and Military Macaw. In addition, I have access to feathers from just about every species kept as a companion bird through ties with breeding facilities. If it's not legal, fine, I'm not trying to start a business or get anyone upset, just trying to understand what the consequences are, and if anyone would be interested or has any requests. TIA...

By the way, these are not native species, if that matters.

05-13-2003, 10:13 AM
I had an aquaintance who had a peregrine falcon. He said it would be illegal for me to even posses a feather. Even if he gave it to me. He said the same for an eagle feather even if I found it. I don't know the laws, but I bet that they are similar. It will be interesting to find what others know.

05-13-2003, 11:05 AM
I'll see if I can find it. It tells of all CITIES animals and what you can/can not possess. Gives you all the details. If it's not on the list I do assume you can possess.

Ask Flytyer, he is very knowledgeable on this. He's given me alot of insight in this area.

PS, a bit off topic. But if Flytyer does look at this, I do already have the Jorgeson book you mentioned, so I'm good to go. Thanks. Will try to collect others as I can find them.

05-13-2003, 11:50 AM

05-13-2003, 01:10 PM
If I'm reading their "cite" properly, it looks like the military macaw is the only one of the bunch that would be off-limits; the other three are okay.

05-13-2003, 03:35 PM
So just send me all of the feathers, and I will be glad to dispose of 'em for you!:rolleyes:


05-13-2003, 04:56 PM
Jim (JDJones) Jones Realtor's husband works at the Animal forensics laboratory in Ashland, Or; the only one of it's kind in the world.

Bounced this question off the folks there and bit of a mixed answer. In general, parrot feathers are ok to own/use, and with the proper permits sell. (Bob Meiser has a web link to the Sysqu. Aviary on his web site; suspect they have all sorts of exotic/legal feathers.) The universal point though, is they would not recommend trying to sell them out side of the US.

As noted above any "raptor" feather are a HUGE NO NO.

Incredible laboratory; they have a store house full of DNA samples from around the world on specific endangered animals/birds/etc. Someone finds you with something 'untoward' and they can probably tell the Judge exactly what animal/bird it came from. Not just the type of animal/bird, but the specific one the feather/fur came from.

Back to the parrot thing. Apparently these getting turned in for testing is not unusual at all. And most disapointing to the arresting officer when found to be legal to own.

05-13-2003, 09:11 PM
Change of/off topic...

Since Fred mentioned the USFWS Forensics Lab in Ashland, I thought I would point out that the lab Director (assuming he is still there), Ken Goddard, is a great speaker for club events. Years ago when my wife planned the Clark-Skamania Flyfishers annual banquet, we had him for the speaker. Fascinating! He is also an accomplished fiction author, drawing on his experiences with animal forensics.


05-14-2003, 12:24 AM

It is perfectly legal to own and sell these feathers in the U.S. without a CITIES permit, including the Military Macaw. You do have to have documentation that the feathers came from domesticated birds (pets, zoo, or aviary birds) to be able to legally sell them.

To sell these feathers, you need not provide the buyer with a certificate of domesticity; however, you need to have the documentation that the feathers came from domesticated birds in your records to avoid problems.

As Fred posted, raptor feathers are highly illegal to posses unless you are a Native American who is a member of a federally recognized Indian Tribe. Possessin a single raptor feather can result in a fine of up to $10,000.00 and/or 10 years in federal prison as well. Defintely not worth the risk.

05-14-2003, 01:19 AM
Permits are not required but, as FT notes above, having the documentation showing the feathers came from a legit. source is a must. My use of the word 'permit' was incorrect.

05-14-2003, 06:15 AM
I understand. How do I go about getting the required documentation?
BTW, not that it really matters, but I happen to work with a guy that's a member of the Lakota Indian Tribe... I know he's got some eagle feathers, but there's no way he'd ever part with them.

05-14-2003, 08:06 AM
Here's my take, without doing diligent research.

Statement of Domesticity, on letterhead from caretaker agency, kept on file with caretaker for generation to end-user by date of shipment; possibly sworn and affirmed (notarized.)

05-15-2003, 12:33 AM

You do not need to have it placed on letterhead if the feathers come from an aviary, zoo, pet store, or breeder it is best to have what feathers (including what type and how many of each type) you got from them listed on their letterhead. However, fir feathers from friends, relatives, etc. who do not have a business dealing in the birds, all you need is a list of the feathers (including how many of what type from what bird) that you received from the person and the date you received them along with the person's signature.

Notarizing is nice but it is not necessary for documenting the feathers are from a domesticated source. Likewise, a picture of the feathers is also nice but not needed.

As you can see, documentation is really very easy to get.

05-15-2003, 06:30 AM
Flytyer - Thanks for the info; that makes things much less complicated than they were beginning to look. Still don't have any photos of the feathers, since the guy keeps forgetting to bring them in (he has a large bucket full of them, from 5 species of birds), but I'm going to call him at home this evening and remind him to put them in his car tonight. Heck, I'll post some pictures of the "contributing birds" as well. Like I said, I can probably get feathers from just about every species of parrot, macaw, and relatives thereof that's kept in captivity for companionship. Can't promise that I can get the exact feathers that people are looking for, but if someone has a request I can see about helping them out.

05-15-2003, 08:26 AM
It's just a nice gesture that you offered, which is enough. Thanks.

05-21-2003, 01:25 AM
Can you answer me this. I found a guy with heron, and I asked him about the CITES before I even thought about buying. This is his response to me. I thought ALL heron must have some sort of CITES? Here's the line I got (names deleted to save the innocent ;) )

There is no CITES on the heron. It is from a species of grey heron
that is
not covered under CITES. These are not blue heron which would be

What do you think?

05-22-2003, 01:21 AM

Don't touch it with a 10' pole. The guyis trying to sell you illegal heron and giving a line a BS to justify why he doesn't need the permit or proof of domesticity. Ask him if it would be OK for you to have the Federal Wildlife Agent come by with you to see the heron just go make sure that you aren't going to buy something illegal. My guess is that you will no longer be very welcome around his place.

Remember that the federal fines (up to $10,000.00) and possible fedreal jail time (up to 10 years) are not worth the risk. Unfortunately, there is some of this illegal selling going on with heron and polar bear. Remember that heron is regulated by the feds in the U.S. because it is considered an endangered or threatened bird.

Herter's of old tried to sell illegal, non-CITIES permitted jungle cock by calling it by its real name of Grey Jungle Fowl. They got away with it for about 7 years. Then the feds caught up with them bringing a semi-truck load of it accross the border from Canada. The resulting fines put the company into bankruptcy and they ceased to exist. All for a little profit.

Use Blue-eared Pheasant. It is legal and there is not need to worry about what the feds may say.

05-22-2003, 02:27 AM
That's what I thought. Actually, he's online, I have corresponded through email about it. I wanted to make sure before I bought any.

I've tried the BEP, I like it. But I could get this for about same price as the BEP I have, so wanted to try if legal. Will throw that at him and see. lol

05-22-2003, 09:47 AM
Maybe the guy selling this heron is a Federal Wildlife Agent.

05-23-2003, 12:52 AM
That would be entrapment BIG time. Law suit against gov't too. You asked if needed a CITES, guy claims it's legal, and sells to you saying it's actually a legal bird. Now, I can see if guy never asks. But that would be crazy. We'll see. Gonna report him and see what happens.

08-15-2003, 06:48 PM
Hi Chirs,

My wife and I have a Aztec Dance Group in San Diego and we buy Macaw feathers for our group. If you or your friend are interested in selling your feathers, please let me know. I will be more than happy to buy all of them from you, if you give me a good deal.
Luis Gomez

08-16-2003, 10:55 AM
are being marketed as Super Spey Hackle by Siskiyou Aviary in Ashland. They are rather pricy at $10 for 6 feathers. but still, that's a lot cheaper that $10K for one! And jail time to boot.:whoa:


08-16-2003, 11:43 PM

Exactly!! And this is why I keep telling people to use legal substitutes or to make sure they get the Certification of Domestically Raised bird or Certification that the feathers were acquired prior to 1972. The legal risks are not worth it to acquire the "real thing", and it is also poor conservation practice to tie flies with feathers from endangered or theatened species.

The great tyers of the 1800's (Kelso, Blacker, Francis, Maxwell, Hardy, Hale, etc.) freely substituted feathers in their tying and spoke of it in their books, why should we be any different than the old "masters" in our tying. Is a spey fly any less a spey fly because it uses blue-eared pheasant instead of heron? Of course not!

Robert Meiser
08-19-2003, 12:32 AM
Hey JD,

Just talked with Katie Davidson of Siskiyou Aviary.

She's been shiping feathers to fly tiers, mask makers, and many other feather artisans for nearly 15 years, and she will have the skinny on the legal ins and outs of marketing domestic feathers ...Number: 541-488-2835

I have known Katie for many years... Been boothing with her and Paul Miller/Super Spey for years at shows around the country.

She's a super gal, and very knowledgable on these matters as it is her business to import/export feathers world wide.

I get all of my rod inlay feathers from Katie.

Bob Meiser

08-19-2003, 09:36 AM
Interesting but not surprising that some of you have alos seen the guy on e-bay selling blue heron...I asked him if he could provide, prior to any purchase, a certificate of authenticity asurance...I too felt uncofortable wit h his response and did not pursue the issue. Threrisk on the downside is just too great there...the rhea feathers are special if you have not used them.

nevada caster
08-21-2003, 12:52 AM
I am quite confident the the GBH is NOT on the endangered species list. CITES may not be an issue. it is on a special lsit that gives them more potection than other migratory birds. I believe that it is illegal to buy and sell their feathers, but I have never been able to get a straight answer form someone in a position to know, if it is illegal to own them.

08-21-2003, 09:14 AM
One thing you can be sure of. If it were legal to own GBH feathers, someone would be marketing and selling them.:devil:


08-21-2003, 01:52 PM
Nevada Caster,

Heron is on the Threatened Species List, not the Endangeered Species List. They are protected under federal law and there is a $10,000.00 fine for the killing, possession, sale, or use of any part of the bird, including its feathers. The exceptions are if the feathers were acquired prior to July 1, 1972 (and you better be able to prove they were acquired before then), or the feathers were acquired from a bird raised in captivity (again you have to be able to prove that they were raised in captivity).

This is no different from hawks and eagles in the U.S., neither of which are on the Endangered Species List anymore since the Bald Eagle was changed from Endangered Status to Threatened Status 3 years ago. It is still illegal to kill, possess, sell, or use any part of an eagle or hawk unless you are a member of a federally recognized Indian Tribe or Alaskan Native Corportation in the U.S.

I wouldn't touch heron feathers unless I the person offering them had proof that they were either acquired prior to July 1, 1972, or that they were from birds raised in captivity. And he better give me a copy of this documentation too so that I am protected.

08-21-2003, 02:56 PM
Would feathers aqquired from a bird prior to 1972 still be usable?
Wouldn't the stems be awfully brittle by now?

08-21-2003, 08:52 PM

It depends on how they were taken care of and stored. I have 2 jungle cock necks that I acquired in 1971 when I purchased the last four that a sporting goods store had that are unused. I have used up one of the four and have been using the other one the last two years and the stems are not brittle. The blasted recipt for them is almost unreadable though. It seems that cash register tape ink doesn't hold up very well after 30 years.

Ronn Lucas
09-08-2003, 04:45 PM
As long as the feathers from your friends Parrots are legal, captive birds, you would not have any trouble within the US. CITES governs the shipment into or out of a country. Documentation is key here. If you had a real aggressive agent of the fish & game department and he/she demanded documentation for pre ban materials, you could have trouble w/o the docs.

In the US, it is illegal to take birds from the wild other than a few upland gamebirds and some waterfowl. Sale of these feathers is ok as long as it is for flytying.

Awhile back, I had a talk with someone who worked in one of the game farms where they had among other things, some Owls and Hawks. I asked if the feathers would be available and the answer was something like this. They could NOT give or sell ANY feathers from domestic raptors but COULD give or sell feathers off their raptors from other countries. They have the required permits to have the birds from other countries so they can bring them in. You could NOT bring in feathers from the same birds.

The CITES stuff is very hard to pin down on certain things. Ivory for example is banned but if you have pre ban ivory it is fine (with documentation). Proving age is the key. Even legal ivory is banned from shipping between states to sell. It is fine to sell within the state. Walrus ivory is illegal unless it is pre ban OR if Eskimo natives have made it into craft items. Eskimos can also harvest a few Polar Bears and use the fur for craft items and sell them.

Some rare Pheasant breeds are legal to sell alive between states but certain ones are illegal if they are dead!

Generally I think you would be fine with the feathers you mentioned as long as you were not sending them into or out of the states.

Happy Trails!
:eyecrazy: :eyecrazy: :eyecrazy:

09-12-2003, 07:37 AM
Here is an interesting article on the matter:

I have spent hours reading the articles on this site, there is ALOT of great info..