Border Crossing With Birds - Jim Jesse

Before attempting to transport birds to various shows in the U.S., you will have to abide by a few very important regulations. By not following these regulations your success rate will be very low.

The Canada-U.S. border has many points of entry. Actually, there are 139. Only certain ones with the proper facilities will allow you to enter with live birds! These entry points must be equipped by a veterinary service in order for birds to be checked and papers to be signed. Find out where the closest point of entry has veterinary services located to you and you are in business.

A few of my friends and I have entered the border crossings at Sask-North Dakota, Alberta-Montana, B.C.-Washington and Ontario-New York on various occasions. These are only a few of the entry point that allow live animals to cross the border. All regulations were adhered to with no problems encountered.

I will try to explain, without too much confusion, the procedures that must be followed.

Step I

Notify a licensed Canadian vet to have your birds inspected for health reasons. He will come into your loft to see if there are any sick birds. Any evidence of sick birds could jeopardize your chances of crossing the border. You then supply him with the band numbers with birds you are going to show. He will give you official stamped papers with the bird’s band numbers. This document will be shown at the border crossing. You also have a time limit to cross the border with your birds. A fee will be charged for this service, which will vary from one veterinarian to another.

Step II

Notify the U.S. vet at the border about the date and time of your crossing. Hours of operation could vary at various entry points. Veterinary services operate from morning to afternoon. It always helps to call ahead and explain the reason why you are entering their country. This will be most helpful to ensure you have a successful trip.

Step III

Depart from home in a time frame that will allow you to arrive at the border in order for documents to be checked and forms to be signed by the Customs Officers. From this point the veterinarian will finish the process, although, various points of entry could change this procedure. In most cases he will ask to see two or three birds to correspond with the numbers on the import form. If all numbers and forms are correct you should encounter no problems. If a problem does arise, a calm approach in solving it is the logical plan. You usually lose the battle if you start arguing with the border officials.

Step IV

The return trip back to Canada is usually a little easier. Find out the hours of operation for the veterinarian service. Make sure you have your papers in order.

A very important bit of information should be brought to your attention about the possibility of entering Canada without seeing the vet. In some cases you can come back into Canada if it has not elapsed a 72-hour period. This ruling should be clarified with every trip you take. This is very helpful, because you can cross the border other than when the veterinarian office is open.

I have tried to simplify the process of crossing the border with show pigeons. You may have other ways of solving all the red tape involved. So, good luck in your future plans.

Jim Jesse
Medicine Hat, Alberta