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New Effort To Combat Songbird Trapping Begins Oct.3

An adult male Indigo Bunting. The species, native to Florida, is targeted in the illegal songbird trade.
An adult male Indigo Bunting. The species, native to Florida, is targeted in the illegal songbird trade.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is gearing up to enforce a new rule to help discourage the trapping of native songbirds.

Craig Faulhaber is an Avian Conservation Coordinator with FWC. He said songbird trapping is a problem in Florida, particularly in the southern part of the state.

"They’re being trapped as part of the pet trade," Faulhaber said. "It's actually kind of big business—the birds are captured and shipped to other parts of the country or people are actually just keeping them as pets."

Bird traps.
Credit Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Bird traps.

This new effort focuses on the regulation of bird traps. Starting Oct. 3, the use, placement and possession of all bird traps without a permit will be prohibited.

Faulhaber said the new rule gives law enforcement officers the authority to remove any bird traps that are not labeled with a permit or registration number and the permit holder’s contact information. 

"Previously, our law enforcement officers would find traps out in the environment but they couldn't conficate those untended traps unless there was a bird in the trap," Faulhaber said. "And so, those traps could then continue to catch birds out in the environment and birds could be injured or die in those traps."

Under the new rule, being caught setting up a bird trap without a permit is a second-degree misdemeanor. First time violators can be fined up to $500 or be sentenced to 60 days in jail. 

Faulhaber said he hopes the new rule will discourage the illegal songbird trade. 

"You know, we’re really hoping that the new rule will give our law enforcement officers another tool so that we can start making more cases and start to see reductions in the behavior of the illegal trapping of songbirds throughout the state," Faulhaber said. 

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