23:4-50. Wild birds other than game birds; capturing; killing; possession; sale; penalties; enforcement
23:4-50. a. As used in this section, except as otherwise noted:
"Department" means the Department of Environmental Protection.
"Wild bird" means any bird other than a native, introduced, or feral game bird as defined in R.S.23:4-49 and other than a domesticated bird such as a chicken, turkey, guinea fowl, goose, duck, pigeon, or peafowl. "Wild bird" also means the egg of a wild bird.
b. Except as may be otherwise provided by law, rule, or regulation, or by the State Fish and Game Code, no person shall within this State pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill, or have in possession, living or dead, a wild bird.
c. (1) Except pursuant to a permit issued by the department for scientific, zoological, or educational purposes or to a licensed wild bird breeder for the purpose of obtaining new stock to increase genetic variety, no person shall within this State offer for sale, sell, offer to barter, barter, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, export, import, transport or cause to be transported, carry or cause to be carried, or receive or cause to be received for shipment, transportation, carriage, or export, living or dead, any wild bird, unless the wild bird was raised, and came from an egg produced by captive parents and hatched, in captivity.
(2) The fact that a wild bird belongs to a species not native to this State shall not constitute a defense to a violation of this subsection.
(3) Any wild bird that enters or is brought into the State from another state or from a point outside the territorial limits of the United States, and which is transported without significant delay but within not more than 48 hours across the State destined for a point beyond the State, may be so entered or brought into the State and transported in accordance with the terms of any federal permit or permit issued under the laws, rules, or regulations of another state.
(4) The prohibitions of paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection shall not apply to the cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus), budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), or common canary (Serinus canarius), nor to any wild birds legally possessed before the 120th day after the date of enactment of P.L.1991, c.253.
The department shall provide for a method or methods to distinguish wild birds legally possessed before the 120th day after the date of enactment of P.L.1991, c.253 from those entering or being brought into the State subsequent to the 120th day after such date of enactment.
d. Except as may be otherwise provided by law, rule, or regulation, or by the State Fish and Game Code, no part of plumage, skin or body of a wild bird shall be sold or had in possession for sale. Plumage, as used in this section, includes any part of the feathers, head, wings, or tail of a wild bird, and refers equally to plumage of wild birds coming from without the State as to birds obtained within the State, but it shall not be construed to apply to the feathers of ostriches, domestic fowl, or domestic pigeons. The fact that a wild bird belongs to a species not native to this State shall not constitute a defense to the possession of parts thereof.
e. The English or European house sparrow and the European starling are not included among the birds protected by this section. Nothing herein shall make it unlawful for the owner or occupant of land, the regular employees thereof, or an agent designated by the department to control hawks or owls only when in the act of destroying poultry or livestock, provided that such control activities are conducted in compliance with all relevant State and federal laws, rules, and regulations and that such owner, occupant, employee, or agent has first obtained all permits required thereby.
f. Except as may be otherwise provided by law, rule, or regulation, or by the State Fish and Game Code, no State permit shall be required to control yellow-headed, red-winged, bi-colored red-winged, tri-colored red-winged, Rusty and Brewer's blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, and crows when found committing or about to commit depredations upon ornamental or shade trees, crops, livestock, or wildlife, or when concentrated in such manners or manner as to constitute a health hazard or other nuisance; provided, that none of the birds killed pursuant to this subsection, nor their plumage, shall be sold or offered for sale, but may be possessed, transported, and otherwise disposed of or utilized.
g. Nothing herein contained shall prohibit the control of animals or birds in instances where there is specific documentation that they are doing damage to wildlife or agricultural crops, by the department or its employees on any lands in the State.
h. (1) If any person violates any provision of this section, the department may institute a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction for injunctive relief to prohibit and prevent such violation, and the court may proceed in the action in a summary manner.
(2) A person violating any provision of this section shall be subject to:
(a) a penalty of not less than $200 nor more than $1000 for each offense;
(b) a penalty of $500 for each bird or part thereof that is a subject of the violation; and
(c) forfeiture of any such bird or part thereof that is a subject of the violation, which penalties may be collected in a civil action by a summary proceeding pursuant to "the penalty enforcement law" (N.J.S.2A:58-1 et seq.), or in any case before a court of competent jurisdiction wherein injunctive relief has been requested. The Superior Court and the municipal court shall have jurisdiction to enforce "the penalty enforcement law." If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it continues shall constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense.
(3) The department may compromise and settle any claim for a penalty under this section in such amount in the discretion of the department as may appear appropriate and equitable under all of the circumstances.
(4) The department may sell, sell at auction, or donate any wild bird or part thereof forfeited pursuant to this subsection to any permittee or licensee designated pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection c. of this section. The proceeds derived from such sales of any wild birds or parts thereof, together with any penalties collected pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection and any fees collected pursuant to this section, shall be deposited in a fund for use by the department in administering and enforcing this section and "The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act," P.L.1973, c.309 (C.23:2A-1 et seq.).
i. The department shall adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), necessary to implement the provisions of this section, which rules and regulations may include a list of species of native, introduced, or feral wild birds determined by the department to be exempt from the prohibitions imposed by this section.
j. The prohibitions, restrictions, penalties, and other provisions of this section shall be in addition to, and shall be implemented and enforced in conjunction with, any set forth in, or adopted pursuant to, "The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act," P.L.1973, c.309 (C.23:2A-1 et seq.).
Amended 1948,c.448,s.62; 1951,c.296; 1958,c.159; 1963,c.86; 1979,c.212,s.2; 1991,c.253.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016