Is It Illegal To Shoot Birds In Your Backyard? (2023)

Birds often visit backyards in search of food, water, and shelter. For many people, this is a good thing as it allows them to see wildlife up close. For others it can be a nuisance, especially when they come in large numbers. If you're having trouble with birds messing up your yard or damaging your yard, you might ask, "Is it illegal to shoot birds in your yard?”

It is illegal to shoot most bird species found in the United States. Few bird species are not legally protected. However, if you wish to shoot unprotected birds on your property, you must obtain permission from your local game warden.

If you're not sure which birds are protected, you've come to the right place. In this article we will discuss the legalities of shooting birds in your yard and identify species that are legal for shooting.

Can you shoot birds in your garden?

Birds can be a real headache, especially for gardeners who have worked so hard to tend to their crops. As much as you want to get rid of them, shooting shouldn't be the answer. Since all species of birds are forbidden to kill in the US with some exceptions.

Most birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), so it pays to know which species are off-limits before you target. Capturing, killing, possessing and even taking/keeping feathers from adead wild bird in your gardenis prohibited and considered a federal offense.

look at thatcomplete list of protected bird speciesfor more informations.

Which birds can be shot?

There is a long list of wild birds protected by the MBTA, but it's a lot easier to rememberwhat birds you can shoot.The US Fish and Wildlife Service lists pigeons, English sparrows and starlings as birds thatYou can shoot legally. This also means that you can shoot these birds at any time.

Is it illegal to shoot a bird on the ground?

Given that there are three types of birds that you can easily shoot, you might be wondering if you can easily grab your gun and shoot a bird that's lying on the ground. Technically, this isn't illegal, especially if you're doing it in your own backyard.

In addition, you still need to keep track of the species you are legally allowed to shoot. If this is already the case then shooting a bird on the ground is not a criminal offense. However, it is about safety and responsibility.

Shooting the ground can ricochet bullets, injuring or even killing someone inside or outside your property. Just because you can shoot on the ground doesn't mean you should.

Which birds may not be killed?

As previously mentioned, all birds on the MATB list are best left alone. You don't want to kill these birds. Otherwise there is a risk of high fines or imprisonment. Below are just some of the most common questions about shooting down some birds that might land on your property.

Is it illegal to shoot a cardinal?

A cardinal can be a nightmarish bird. They can be aggressive and attack windows, making life difficult for you. It's easy for you to shoot the bird, especially when you're constantly having a hard time no matter what you do to scare it away.

However, a cardinal is one of the protected bird species listed in the MBTA and killing it is against the law. The law aims to protect migratory birds, which include songbirds native to North America. Cardinal is the most popular species of songbirds.

Is it illegal to shoot a robin?

Like cardinals, robins are songbirds and are not considered pests. So, yes, it's illegal to shoot a robin, whether it's an open season or a closed season.

Can I shoot pigeons in my garden?

This can be a more difficult decision as you then need to know what species of pigeon will land in your yard. Whether it is illegal to shoot pigeons depends largely on the species.

For example, if you have a problem with Mourning Doves, shooting them down is considered illegal because they are covered by the MBTA. If so, problems with these birds should require assistance from the local game warden.

On the other hand, if you are dealing with rock pigeons, aka common pigeons, then it is legal to kill them as they are not protected by law (more on pigeon shooting below). Be sure to know the difference between pigeons that can be killed and those that cannot.

What guns are allowed when shooting birds?

Now that you know which birds to stay away from and which birds you can legally shoot, you might also be asking about the types of guns you can and cannot use when dealing with birds. It is worth noting that shooting birds is generally a last resort.

Shooting birds because they make life difficult is seldom done, even with the wildest of pigeons. But if you must, you can use a pellet gun or an air gun.

Is it illegal to shoot birds with a BB gun?

BB guns refer to airguns that can fire projectiles. BB is short for Ball Bearing, the pellet-sized ball bearing of the gun. Different states have different laws regarding the use of BB guns, but when it comes to anti-bird use, the MBTA still applies.

However, it is not illegal to shoot birds with a BB gun as long as you shoot vermin birds that are not protected by law. When hunting, it is generally discouraged to use BB guns as they will not produce a clean, humane kill.

Can I kill a bird with a BB gun?

If you feel the need to shoot an unprotected bird with a BB gun, know that you could potentially kill it. At the same time, you could just scare it away or hurt it. It all depends on the type of BB gun used and its firing power.

A BB weapon with a higher projectile velocity is more effective than one with a lower velocity. In addition, the type of bird you are targeting also matters as some birds can survive the shot.

Is it illegal to shoot pigeons with a BB gun?

Pigeons are compared to rats except they have wings. This means they are a pest that most people do not want to welcome into their property. You are potentialcarriers of diseases, which can be spread through their feces.

Not to mention that they could flock to your garden and destroy your beautiful landscape. These birds are often found in urban environments due to their easy access to food and water. Some people also feed pigeons in parks.

However, if pigeons are causing damage to your property, you can consider shooting them with a BB gun. Many people choose this option because shooting a BB gun is not illegal. For one thing, according to the UISFWS, pigeons are on the MBTA's unprotected list.

Pigeons are also small enough to be killed by a BB gun, but there's still a chance they'll get away with injuries, making BB guns not a humane way to get rid of them. If you must use one for pest control, make sure you get a high FPS BB gun.

Another thing to note is the different state laws regarding the possession, use, and licensing of BB guns. Make sure you are familiar with them.

Can I shoot birds with a pellet gun?

Pellet and BB guns are terms that are often used interchangeably. One can be confused with the other, but they actually differ in terms of the projectile used. When it comes to bird shooting, a high FPS pellet gun can be used to get a clean kill.

However, in general, pellet guns are not recommended for birds unless the gun has a high FPS or the bird is small enough to succumb to the damage. Otherwise, you can cause pain or injury to the animal.


Finally, and most importantly, it is not illegal to shoot birds in your yard as long as you are targeting unprotected species such as pigeons, English sparrows and starlings. If you need to shoot pest birds that are ruining your property, it is generally recommended to use other means of pest control, e.g. B. setting up a scarecrow.

Shooting should be considered the last option. However, if you're shooting to control them, the goal is to get a clean shot that will quickly kill the bird. This is a more humane way of getting rid of them rather than hurting and suffering in the process.

It is now illegal to shoot wild birds protected by the MBTA and it is considered a federal crime. If there is a need to shoot wild, protected birds that land on your property, you must contact the local game warden for a permit.

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