A new rule created by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to help protect Florida’s native songbirds from illegal capture takes effect this week. The new rule, which takes effect Oct. 3, is in Chapter 68A-16, F.A.C. (Rules Relating to Birds) and includes regulations regarding the use, placement and possession of bird traps.

The illegal trapping of native birds has long been a concern in the state, particularly in south Florida where trapping is believed to be widespread. Birds are lost from the wild population and, in many cases, may be mistreated and sometimes killed or injured when illegally trapped.

The new rule will provide an additional tool for law enforcement officers to help stop the poaching of these birds, while still allowing for lawful uses of bird traps. The rule contains exemptions for many lawful uses and contains a permitting process for individuals that trap nonnative nuisance birds but do not meet one of the exemptions in the rule. Under the new rule, note that all bird traps must be labeled, even if a person has a permit, other authorization or exemption.

For more information on the new rule including answers to Frequently Asked Questions, see MyFWC.com/Birdtraps.

Please report any instances of illegal trapping to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or by email or text to Tip@MyFWC.com.