Last updated July 2020 


Bob Arini
MA Department of Fisheries, Wildlife & Law Enforcement
251 Causeway Street, Suite 400
Boston, MA 02114-2151
Phone (617) 626-1575

Is a state permit required for banding?

Yes. The regulation states:
(4) Categories of Permits. Permits which may be issued pursuant to G.L. c. 131, Sec. 4(2) may   include, but not be limited to, bird-banding, salvage, and scientific collecting permits, or letter permits incorporating specialized authorizations.

Permit application forms

  • Application Form for scientific collecting
  • Banding: not available online; contact the agency
  • Renewal; not available online; contact the agency
  • Threatened and Endangered – same application form
  • Salvage – not available online; contact the agency

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.


321 Code of Massachusetts Regulations

2.02: Permits to Take or Possess

(2) Authority of Director. In accordance with the provisions of M.G.L. c. 131, § 4(2), the director may take or in writing authorize employees of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife or other persons to take and possess fish, fish spawn, birds, the nest and eggs thereof, mammals, reptiles and amphibians at any time or in any manner for the purposes of observation, research, control or management, and, in his discretion, excuse certain persons so authorized from any licensing provision of M.G.L. c. 131.(3) Scope. The provisions of 321 CMR 2.02 set forth certain special permits which may be granted pursuant to M.G.L. c. 131, § 4(2) and establish procedures for the granting of special permits or exemptions to certain classes of persons. 321 CMR 2.02 does not apply to permits or licenses issued pursuant to other provisions of M.G.L. c. 131 or c. 131A.(4) Categories of Permits. Permits which may be issued pursuant to G.L. c. 131, § 4(2) may include, but not be limited to, bird-banding, salvage, and scientific collecting permits, or letter permits incorporating specialized authorizations. The director may establish reasonable standards and conditions for each category of special permit, consistent with the intent and purpose of the permit, and such standards and conditions shall be construed as limiting the authority of the permit to such extent. The director may further require a permittee to keep certain records or submit certain reports as a condition of the permit, or renewal thereof, and failure to keep or submit such records or reports, when required, may be cause for suspension, revocation, or non-renewal of the permit.

Threatened and Endangered Species

10.04: Taking and Possession of Species on State and Federal Lists

(1) Prohibitions. Except as otherwise provided in 321 CMR 10.04(2) and (3), no person may take, possess, transport, export, process, sell or offer for sale, buy or offer to buy, nor shall a common or contract carrier knowingly transport or receive for shipment, any plant or animal or part thereof on the state list or federal list; provided, however, that ownership, sale, or purchase of real property on which such plant or animal occurs is not prohibited.

(3) Permits for Taking and Possession of Species. Any violation of a permit is a violation of M.G.L. c. 131A, Sec. 2.
(a) Scientific and Educational Use Permits. The Director may in accordance with provisions of M.G.L. c. 131, Sec. 4 and c. 131A, Sec. 3 permit the taking, possession, purchase, sale, transportation, exportation or shipment of any species on the state list for scientific or educational purposes, including but not limited to scientific collecting, educational use, wildlife rehabilitation, salvage, or bird banding.

Listed bird species

E = endangered
T = threatened
SC = special concern

Common Loon (Gavia immer) SC
Pied billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) E
Leach’s Storm petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) E
American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) E
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) E
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) T
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) T
King Rail (Rallus elegans) T
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) SC
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) T
Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) E
Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii) E
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) SC
Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) SC
Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) SC
Barn Owl (Tyto alba) SC
Long eared Owl (Asio otus) SC
Short eared Owl (Asio flammeus) E
Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) E
Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) E
Northern Parula (Setophaga americana) T
Blackpoll Warbler (Dendroica striata) SC
Mourning Warbler (Geothlypis philadelphia) SC
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) T
Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) T
Eastern Whip-poor-will (Antrostomus vociferus) SC
Saltmarch Sparrow (Ammospiza caudacuta) SC
Red Knot (Calidris canutus) T
Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata) SC
Easter Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) SC