Can birds be harassed?

April 30th, 2012 · by Daniela Ogden

A lawsuit filed in Iowa City, Iowa is bringing into question the constutionality of the Airborne Hunting Act. The Airborne Hunting Act prohibits and provides a penalty to any person who “while airborne in an aircraft shoots or attempts to shoot for the purpose of capturing or killing any bird, fish, or other animal; or uses an aircraft to harass any bird, fish, or other animal.” Two pilots are charged with harassing migrating birds.

The pilots cited in the case, Paul Austin and Craig Martin, are arguing that the Act is not legal because it is too hard to determine if an animal can experience harassment.

What do you think?

(via Washington Post)

(Photo by Air Combat Command)

Categories: Bird conservation · Federal Policy · Pacific Migration · spring migration

4 Comments so far ↓

  • Darlene

    By the way, most states have laws against this despite the Airborne Hunting Act.

  • Darlene

    To me, saying that they can’t be harassed is the same as saying they can’t feel pain. They’re trying to justify their actions.

    Even if they couldn’t feel the emotion of being harassed, they were still interfering with their migration and putting their lives at risk. Most animals live on a fine line and if you interfere with their normal life activities, they can be stressed and die.

  • Katelyn Weightman

    Of course they can be harrassed! Any living thing can be harrassed. If you think of it, even plants. (example: plucking off healthy leaves and petals for no reason at all. Plants need those leaves and petals to survive and for plants that have only a few of them, plucking them is beyond bullying.) I remember my nephews when they were little plucking out a parakeet’s tail feathers off. That bird was not happy. That’s harassment.

    Here is a true story I read today from… maybe this will help you understand.

    (Words of Linda Woods)
    I’m still in awe of yesterday’s event; I learned something beautiful Ogitchida Kwe Migizi (Eagle) – there was lady there who lives right near where the Migizi fell in 2008 and she wondered what ever happened to this Migizi. She said that for 2 weeks this Migizi’s mate and two babies came to where she fell every day looking for her… that touched my heart so much! I knew eagles mate for life but to hear how they, too mourn the loss of their loved one moved me beyond words! That was the gift for me ~(Thanks for sharing this story Linda)

    If an bird can love so much to mate for life and mourn their mate’s death, I KNOW that birds have enough feelings and personality to be harassed.

  • Doris Johnson

    If someone is trying to kill something, especially ANYTHING protected by the Migratory Bird act or any ENDANGERED species, to me that is harassment….