Bird \"plinking\" fyi Just wanted to toss out one fyi from the friendly neighborhood lawyer as I have seen here and elsewhere some passing references to shooting various asundry birds for target practice. All migratory birds are protected by federal law and it is a federal criminal offense to shoot them with any gun at anytime. The only exception to this basic rule are birds classified as game birds which have regulated hunting seasons, and then they are generally restricted to hunting with a shotgun. For non-migratory birds, most states have either identical or substantially similar laws. What are the odds of being caught? - Pretty low with the current low priority on conservation and game law enforcement in most areas. However, if you are caught, the penalties potentially are very severe and generally in the federal system there are no "first offense" slaps on the wrists. Remember all of that "tough on crime" rhetoric. If you break this law and are convicted, you are now a criminal who committed a "gun offense." An offense with a firearm in the federal system is very likely to lead to real prison time with significant fines, and likely the loss of the right to own a firearm for the remainder of your life. Again, the risk of being caught is low, but if it is the wrong place at the wrong time, you made the choice and will suffer the consequence. Also, even if there is no criminal prosecution, this is the kind of activity that is prone to stir up anti-hunting sentiments. Here in Texas, there have been two instances of hunters shooting and killing whooping cranes in the last 15 years. The most recent incident involved someone hunting ducks out of season, so he was in trouble even before the game warden found the whooping crane. One more point of legal trivia, most states generally prohibit the taking of any bird with a rifle, even when in season and classified as a gamebird. Again, in most states this would be classified as a "gun crime" and potentially subject the shooter to potentially serious legal consequences. So please think before you shoot.