Species Illegal to Hunt

Valid Sep. 1, 2019 through Aug. 31, 2020.

Many light waterbirds look alike. Federal and state fines and jail time can apply if you shoot at these birds.
(Illustrations not to scale)

Whooping Crane

Whooping Cranes are endangered. Do not confuse them for Sandhill cranes. Be sure before you shoot.

whooping crane with black wingtips showing in flight

whooping cranes stand taller than other cranes and have a red patch on the head

  • Endangered species.
  • Whooping Cranes stand nearly 5 feet tall.
  • They will be the tallest bird you see.
  • Adult birds have bodies that are pure white except for a red patch on the head and a black “mustache.”
  • Juvenile birds will have rusty feathers with the white.
  • Wingtips (primary feathers) are black, black does not extend all the way along the wing edge to the body.
  • Wingspan is 7.5 feet.
  • Fly with long necks and long legs fully extended.
  • Wingbeats are slow and steady.
  • Flocks of 2 to 7.
  • Sometimes migrate with sandhill cranes.


swans showing white feathers and short legs when standing and in flight

  • All white.
  • Necks long, extended straight forward in flight.
  • Wingspan more than 6 feet.
  • Short legs, do not extend beyond tail in flight.
  • Flocks of 2 to 10.

White Ibis

ibis: white with black wingtips and slender, curved bill

  • White with black only on tips of wings.
  • Necks long; slender bill is curved down.
  • Wingspan: 3 feet.
  • Legs extend slightly beyond tail in flight.
  • Fly by flapping and gliding.
  • Found in groups up to about 30.

Great Blue Heron

great blue herons with folded necks when standing and in flight

  • Stands four feet tall.
  • Dark grayish blue.
  • Wingspan of nearly six feet.
  • Necks long, typically folded in flight (extends neck near take-off and landing).
  • Slow wingbeat.
  • Typically found singly or in pairs.

Wood Stork

wood storks showing white feathers when standing and black tail and wing edges when in flight

  • White, with black tail and black along entire edge of wings.
  • Neck long, extended straight, bare and dark near head
  • Heavy bill curved down.
  • Wingspan: 5.5 feet.
  • Long legs extend beyond tail in flight.
  • Flaps slowly, glides and soars.
  • Found singly or in groups of fewer than 10.

White Pelican

white pelicans with long, yellow bills and showing black edging along winds during flight

  • Protected non-game species.
  • White wings with black edgings extending almost to body.
  • Necks long, folded  in flight.
  • Wingspan: 8 feet.
  • Short legs, do not extend beyond tail in flight.
  • Long, yellow bill. Often in flocks of 20 or more.

Great Egret

all-white great egrets have bright yellow beaks and long black legs that extend beyond the tail

  • Protected non-game species.
  • An all-white heron with 4.5 foot wingspan and bright yellow beak.
  • In flight, the neck is not extended but their black legs extend beyond the tail.
  • Slightly smaller than sandhill cranes when standing.

Double Crested Cormorant

black double crested cormorants with orange throat patch and hooked bills

  • Protected non-game species.
  • Goose-sized with slender body, long neck.
  • Slender, hooked bill that is usually tilted up while swimming.
  • Orange throat patch.
  • Dark, nearly totally black body.
  • More rapid wing beat and longer tail than geese.