Presented by the
Ornithological Council

Member organizations of the Ornithological Council

American Ornithologists' Union

Association of Field Ornithologists


Cooper Ornithological Society

Neotropical Ornithological Society

Pacific Seabird Group

Raptor Research Foundation

Society of Canadian Ornithologists ~ Société des Ornithologistes du Canada

Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds

The Waterbird Society

Wilson Ornithological Society
Page Last Updated
Mon, Jan 26, 2009

Contact Webmaster:
Robert.Curry @

© 1997-2009, The Ornithological Council, All Rights Reserved

DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript

State Permits & Permitting

Introduction: important notice

The Ornithological Council is pleased to provide ornithologists with state permitting information. Every attempt will be made to keep this information up-to-date, but compiling this information is a very time-consuming process and we may not always have the most recent information. For that reason, we (1) have provided contact information for each state permitting office in the general information document and (2) ask that you notify us if you find information that is not current.

Do you need a state permit? (Yes - in almost every state!)

Many states use the term "scientific collecting permit" but in fact they require a permit for all manner of research activities, including various means of capture, marking, and release, as well as the sampling of blood, feathers, and other tissue. Do not assume that you do not need a permit simply because the permit is titled "scientific collecting permit." Assume that you need a permit despite the title, read the regulation, policy, or permit documents to be sure, and check with the state permitting office if in doubt.

We have attempted to provide accurate information about state requirements for permits for banding and other research activities. In some cases, the statute, regulation, written policies, or the application forms and the instructions for the application forms leave no doubt. Where that was not the case, we have asked for written interpretation from the state permitting agency. That information is provided for each state.

Some states have separate permit applications for research involving threatened or endangered species (in addition to the federal permit for endangered or threatened species). Whenever a state permit for endangered or threatened species was available, we included it here. Do not assume, however, that the lack of a separate permit application means that it is not needed. Check with the state agency to be sure.

How many permits?

Most states use the same application form for new applications and for renewals, as well as for work involving state-listed threatened and endangered species.

For states that use different forms for renewal, or for state-listed threatened and endangered species, we have provided those forms.

Working on state property (parks, nature preserves, wildlife management areas).

These permits may or may not include authority to work on state property. Some states allow you to seek that authority at the time you apply for the research permit and others do not. We have attempted to provide that information. Contact the state permitting agency to be certain. Even if no formal permit is needed to work on state property, you should always contact the manager of that particular state land unit before your arrival. You want to be aware of the hunting seasons, and, of course want to be sure that your activities will not interfere with the activities of that park, wildlife management area, or other state land unit, and that your activities will not adversely affect public use of the land.


Please contact the Ornithological Council for assistance with state permits or any other type of permit.

State pages

Links below will direct visitors to information about permit policies and procedures for each of the United States and associated territories.
Alabama Indiana Nebraska South Carolina
Alaska Iowa Nevada South Dakota
Arizona Kansas New Hampshire Tennessee
Arkansas Kentucky New Jersey Texas
California Louisiana New Mexico Utah
Colorado Maine New York Vermont
Connecticut Maryland North Carolina Virginia
Delaware Massachusetts North Dakota Washington
Florida Michigan Ohio West Virginia
Georgia Minnesota Oklahoma Wisconsin
Hawai'i Mississippi Oregon Wyoming
Idaho Missouri Pennsylvania
Illinois Montana Rhode Island
District of Columbia Puerto Rico