Chapter 3. Nongame Birds of California Fish And Game Code >> Division 4. >> Part 2. >> Chapter 3.
(a) All birds occurring naturally in California that are not
resident game birds, migratory game birds, or fully protected birds
are nongame birds. It is unlawful to take any nongame bird except as
provided in this code or in accordance with regulations of the
commission or, when relating to mining operations, a mitigation plan
approved by the department.
(b) (1) Mitigation plans relating to mining operations approved by
the department shall, among other criteria, require avoidance of
take, where feasible, and include reasonable and practicable methods
of mitigating the unavoidable take of birds and mammals. When
approving mitigation plans, the department shall consider the use of
the best available technology on a site-specific basis.
(2) Mitigation plans relating to mining operations approved by the
department shall include provisions that address circumstances where
mining operations contribute to bird deaths, including ponding of
process solutions on heap leach pads and exposure of process solution
channels, solution ponds, and tailing ponds.
(3) The mine operator shall prepare a mitigation plan that shall
be submitted to the department for approval. For ongoing mining
operations, the mitigation plan alone or in conjunction with
regulations adopted by the commission shall result in an overall
reduction in take of avian or mammal species. The department shall
provide an opportunity for public review and comment on each
mitigation plan during the department's approval process. The
mitigation plan shall be prepared on a site-specific basis and may
provide for offsite mitigation measures designed to reduce avian
mortality. The mine operator shall submit monthly monitoring reports
on avian mortality to the department to aid in evaluating the
effectiveness of onsite mitigation measures.
(4) The mining operator shall reimburse the department for its
direct costs to provide appropriate notice of the mitigation plan to
affected local government entities and other affected parties. The
mine operator shall provide the department a limited number of
copies, as determined by the department, of the mitigation plan for
(c) The department shall monitor and evaluate implementation of
the mitigation plan by the mine operator and require modification of
the plan or other remedial actions to be taken if the overall
reduction in take of avian or mammal species required pursuant to
paragraph (3) is not being achieved.
Notwithstanding Section 3007 or any other provision of this
code or regulations made pursuant thereto requiring the possession of
a hunting license, a landowner or lessee or agent of either in
immediate possession of written authority from the landowner or
lessee, shall not be required to obtain a hunting license or a
depredation permit to take the following nongame birds on land owned
or leased by the landowner or lessee. Hunters otherwise taking the
following nongame birds shall be licensed pursuant to Section 3007.
The following nongame birds taken in compliance with this section may
be taken and possessed by any person at any time, except as provided
in Section 3000:
(a) English sparrows (Passer domesticus).
(b) Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).
Nongame birds not covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
which are found to be injuring growing crops or property may be taken
by the owner or tenant of the premises. They may also be so taken by
officers or employees of the Department of Food and Agriculture or
by federal or county officers or employees when acting in their
official capacities pursuant to the provisions of the Food and
Agricultural Code pertaining to pests, or pursuant to Article 6
(commencing with Section 6021) of Chapter 9 of Part 1 of Division 4
of the Food and Agricultural Code.
Landowners and tenants taking birds in accordance with this
section are exempt from Section 3007.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this code or
regulations made pursuant thereto, it is unlawful to possess the
carcass, skin, or parts of any nongame bird. The feathers, carcass,
skin, or parts of any nongame bird possessed by any person in
violation of any of the provisions of this code shall be seized by
the department and delivered to a California Native American tribal
government or a scientific or educational institution, used by the
department, or destroyed.
(b) (1) It shall be an affirmative defense to a violation of this
section if the possessor of feathers, carcass, skin, or parts of a
nongame bird legally acquired the feathers, carcass, skin, or parts,
possesses them for tribal, cultural, or spiritual purposes, and
satisfies either of the following criteria:
(A) The possessor is an enrolled member of a federally recognized
Native American tribe or nonfederally recognized California Native
American tribe listed on the California Tribal Consultation List
maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission who has, in his
or her immediate possession, valid tribal identification or other
irrefutable proof of current enrollment.
(B) The possessor has a certificate of degree of Indian blood
issued by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs in his or her
(2) Nothing in this section allows any person to sell nongame bird
feathers, carcasses, skins, or parts. Native Americans meeting the
affirmative defense requirements may salvage dead nongame birds so
long as the person salvaging these birds does not possess, nor is in
the company of any person who possesses, a firearm, BB device as
defined in Section 16250 of the Penal Code, trap, snare, net archery
equipment, device capable of discharging a projectile, or any
apparatus designed to take birds. Salvaging shall not take place by
any person involved in the take of the nongame bird to be salvaged,
any person present at the time of the take, or by any person who
received related information originating from any person present at
the time of the take of the nongame bird. Salvaging pursuant to this
subdivision shall not take place if a bird has been struck with any
thrown or discharged projectile, trapped, netted, caught, or snared.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), any officer
deputized pursuant to this code may interrupt any ongoing salvaging
of dead nongame carcasses, feathers, skins, or parts if, in the
officer's judgment, the activity causes a public disruption, safety
hazard, or is detrimental to the ability of the department to prevent
a possible violation of this section. The officer may seize any of
the salvaged feathers, carcasses, skins, or parts and has the option
of returning them to the general location from where they were
The department may enter into cooperative contracts with the
United States Fish and Wildlife Service in the Department of the
Interior in relation to the control or eradication of predatory
birds, and for that purpose may expend any money made available to
the department for expenditure for the control or eradication of
The department may take any individual bird, or birds of any
species, that, in its opinion, are unduly preying upon any species of
bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian, or fish.
In order to aid in relieving widespread waterfowl depredation
of agricultural crops, the department may issue licenses under
regulations which the commission may prescribe to permit the feeding
of migratory game birds. The commission may prescribe an annual fee
for the license.