by George Van Oosbree
Legal Status and Permit Requirements
All swallows are included under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 as migratory insectivorous birds and as such are protected by state and federal regulations. It is illegal for any person to take, possess, transport, sell, or purchase them or their parts, such as feathers, nests, or eggs, without a permit. As a result, certain activities affecting swallows are subject to legal restrictions.
The California Department of Fish and Game, the enforcement agency, considers February 15 to September 1 to be the swallow nesting season. Completed nests during this breeding season cannot be touched without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Outside of these dates, the nests can be removed without a permit. During nesting, a permit authorizing nest removal will be issued only if it can be justified by strong, compelling reasons. For example, such justification might include a health or safety hazard posed by a nesting colony situated over a doorway/entrance, near a loading area of a warehouse or a food processing facility, or at an airport if aircraft and maintenance safety are impaired.
Also advise them not to hold their breath waiting to get a permit. It won’t happen.