The case of the dead birds

Some 94 years ago Congress passed the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Pretty much any bird that moves from one place to another is covered by the law. As we told you last year, the Obama administration decided to ignore the plain language of the law and file criminal charges against several landowners because dead birds were found on their property.

Curiously, those landowners just happened to be oil producers.

Last week, the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota dismissed those charges.

First the law.  Title 16, United States Code, Section 703 provides that it is unlawful to “pursue, hunt, take, capture [or]kill …any migratory bird”. 

Although from the court’s opinion, we are not sure how these birds died, we are left with the impression that the government believed it was the result of the birds encountering “reserve [oil] pits” found on the property.  The charge was that the property owner “took” the migratory bird, because said bird was dead.

The court threw the charges out because, under the government’s theory, you too, could be a defendant if you own a building with windows, a car, or even a cat, and a dead migratory bird is found on your property, or near your car.

Using statistics provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the very agency that sought to bring the criminal charges, the court explained that each year, some 97 to 976 million birds are killed by flying into windows, 4 to 5 million by flying into communication towers, 60 million by vehicles, 72 million by farm pesticides, 33,000 by wind turbines, and, in Wisconsin alone, 76 million by cats. (see page 18 of the decision)

Consequently, according to the court, if you engaged in any of the above legal activities (there was nothing illegal found to have occurred on the defendant oil companies’ properties), then you, too could be criminally charged if a dead bird was found on your property.  Finding this result absurd, the criminal charges were dismissed.

The real question is, why were the charges brought in the first place?


14 replies
  1. JBS
    JBS says:

    Why? Because they can intimidate. Also, it sends a message that this Regime is not favorable to oil.
    Ever think that the dead birds were planted by the reserve pits by our corrupt DOJ.

  2. NH-Jim
    NH-Jim says:

    “Actor and model, Fabio (Lanzoni) flees U.S. in fear of arrest for killing goose with his face.
    [ During the rapid descent on its maiden run on the 210-foot drop on the Busch Gardens Williamsburg roller-coaster, a goose collided with Fabio, leaving his nose covered in blood. He received a one-inch cut on his nose but no one else on the roller coaster was hurt. The goose was later found dead on the ground under the roller coaster with a broken neck]

    • Lynn
      Lynn says:

      Ha, Ha, Ha, I hope this story is true. Fabio is adorable still, but now I know his face is no longer perfect!!!Also, I used to think he was a dumb model, but I saw him on Cavuto and he is one smart conservative!!!

    • Lynn
      Lynn says:

      LOL, Holder has made himself such a target for ridicule. Next Holder will be talking about “the minkey” business.

      • Dimsdale
        Dimsdale says:

        Or asking “Does your dog bite?”? LOLOL!? He’s a real life Clouseau, with extra added corruption!

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