Last updated July 2020

Link to state website


Tina Jarvis
Permits Coordinator
MD DNR – Wildlife and Heritage Service
Tawes State Office Building, E-1
580 Taylor Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone (410) 260-8540

Is a state permit required for banding?

In most cases, no.

The Ornithological Council has confirmed with Maryland DNR that: The only permit required to band migratory birds in Maryland is the federal bird banding permit. No additional state permit is required. By state regulation, any person holding a valid federal bird banding permit may also salvage birds killed or found dead as a result of their normal banding operations, and casualties from other causes, without a state permit provided those dead birds are donated to a public scientific or educational institution.

Any other form of marking (such as collars, patagial tags, transmitters, or nasal discs) would require a scientific collecting permit.

Of course, you should be sure your federal banding permit includes authority to salvage.

If your research activity does not involve scientific collecting, simply attach a project proposal and write “not applicable” with regard to all questions pertaining to scientific collecting. It is usually best to write a short, clear description of your project rather than attaching the long, detailed project proposal that you might have prepared as a grant application. State clearly what kinds of activities you will undertake, which species you intend to study, and the purpose for your study.

Permit application forms

  • Application Form
  • Renewal – same form
  • Threatened and Endangered – application here
  • Salvage – As above. If you have a valid federal banding permit (that includes authority to salvage) you do not need a separate permit to salvage birds, provided that the birds are donated to a public scientific or educational insititution. However, if you are doing any other kind of research i.e., not banding birds then you would need a state permit to salvage. Use the scientific collecting permit.

State lands

03 Wildlife Sanctuary or Wildlife Refuge.

A. Except by a use permit from the Service, on Service controlled lands and waters posted as “Wildlife sanctuary” or “Wildlife refuge” a person may not engage in or attempt to:

(1) Catch;
(2) Harass;
(3) Hunt;
(4) Intentionally disturb;
(5) Kill; or
(6) Pursue any wildlife.

B. Violation of any provision or restriction of the permit shall constitute a violation of this regulation.

Prior notice

Check permit conditions. Even if not expressly required to do so, you should always contact the manager of that particular state land unit or with the owner of private land 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 or with the activities of private landowners.


Statute (Annotated Code of Maryland)

§ 10-909. Scientific collection permits
Permit required to collect wildlife, nests, or eggs for scientific or educational purposes
(a) Any properly accredited person of known scientific attainment desiring to collect wildlife, nests, or eggs from the wild for scientific or educational purposes shall first obtain a scientific collection permit from the Secretary.
Issuance of permit
(b) The Secretary may issue a scientific collecting permit, on the payment of a reasonable fee, to any properly accredited person who has demonstrated a legitimate scientific or educational need for the requested wildlife.
(c) The Secretary may adopt regulations governing the issuance, revocation, terms, and conditions of the permit.
Permit expiration
(d) The permit:
(1) Shall expire December 31 of the issuing year; and
(2) May not be transferred to another person.
Voiding a permit
(e) The permit becomes void on proof that the permittee has:
(1) Captured or killed any wildlife;
(2) Taken any nests or eggs for other than scientific or educational purposes; or
(3) Taken or possessed any wildlife, nests, or eggs not authorized by the permit.

Code of Maryland Regulations

Title 8 (Department of Natural Resources)

Subtitle 3 (Wildlife), Part 9 (Wildlife Possession), Subpart 06

Permit to Possess Protected Species of Wildlife Birds.

A. Exceptions. This regulation does not apply to a bird on the threatened or endangered species lists. Further, any person who holds a valid federal bird banding or marking permit with authority to band or mark birds in Maryland, may salvage, for the purpose of donating to a public scientific or educational institution, birds killed or found dead as a result of the permittee’s normal banding operations, and casualties from other causes, without holding additional State permits for salvage.

B. Permit. Any properly accredited person wishing to possess a protected bird or parts of a protected bird for educational or scientific purposes, or for the purpose of propagation, may apply to the Department for a permit.

C. Application. Application for a permit shall be made on the form the Department prescribes and shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Department the reasons for which the applicant wishes to possess the bird.

D. Non-transferability. The permit is non-transferable and expires December 31 of each year.

E. Annual Report. By December 31 of each year, every permittee shall make an annual report on forms the Department prescribes. The report shall include the disposition by species, the number, the age, the sex, the sources of any protected birds, as well as any other information the Department may require.

F. Revocation and Suspension. The Department may suspend or revoke a permit if the permittee fails to comply with the terms of the permit or submit the annual report.

Endangered species

Maryland has a state endangered species law. The following species are  protected under that law:

American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)
Nashville warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla)
Least tern (Sternula antillarum)

Permits. The permit procedures to be followed are set forth in Regulation .03 of this chapter. The following apply:

(1) Except by special permit from the Director, a person may not take, export, possess, process, sell, offer for sale, deliver, carry, transport or ship by any means any threatened wildlife, reptile, amphibian, mollusk, crustacean, or finfish species.

(2) Permits to take threatened species shall be issued only for:

(a) Scientific research designed to enhance the recovery of the species or population;
(b) Other valid scientific research; or
(c) Educational purposes designed to further public awareness regarding the species.