Man Arrested for Selling Costumes with Feathers of Protected Birds

A man who worked as an announcer for Native American Pow Wow events made a fatal error when he allegedly sold Native American costumes that contained the feathers of protected birds to undercover agents in Las Vegas, NV.


The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that Terry Fiddler appeared before a federal magistrate judge on May 25, after being charged with selling costume ceremonial clothing with the feathers of federally protected birds to special agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He is charged with one count of selling a dance bustle (arrangement of feathers worn on the body) in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and with selling a war bonnet in violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Lacey Act.


The Native American dance bustle and war bonnet each contained golden eagle, bald eagle, red-tailed hawk and rough-legged hawk feathers. 


The first counts against Fiddler are misdemeanors and carry a penalty of up to one year in prison and $100,000 fine.  The other count is a felony and carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


Fiddler was arrested on April 29 in Rapid City, SD and has already made one court appearance.  He was released on a personal recognizance bond. 


The Migratory Bird Treaty Act dates back to 1918 and it protects 800 species of migrating birds.  The Act makes it unlawful to hunt, take, capture, kill or sell these birds.  It was enacted during a time when the commercial sale of bird feathers was popular.


The Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act protects the birds by “prohibiting the take, possession, sale purchase barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part , nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit.”  Although the birds are no longer on the Endangered Species List, they are federally protected.


And The Lacey Act protects wildlife and agriculture from import and export exploitation.  


photo credit: thanks to Alaskan Dude via flickr for the beautiful pic of a bald eagle


Glenn Askew
Glenn A7 years ago

I will reserve judgement on how severely this Man should be punished until I find a better written, more factual article on where and how he came into posession of these feathers..since he is a lifelong ceremonial dancer, he may very well have recieved them thru legal, and permitted which case, all he is guilty of, is selling to someone without permits to buy..which i supposed HAS to be prosecuted according to law..I live in North Vancouver, and The majority of Whites AND natives are disgusted and pissed off about our Eagle-poaching problems, and the useless sentences handed down..hopefully we will stiffen up the penalties greatly for PROVEN poachers..I also visit my friends' property in the Fraser Canyon..and there are a couple Eagles' nest a hawks nest..and you bet the feathers fall off and land on the ground..but i also know that if i want to pick up those feathers..i gotta go thru the "Fish & Feathers"..(Wildlife dept) actually have a wildlife officer physically come to the site of the feathers, make sure i have no weapons that may have caused those feathers to "Fall" off,(WILDLIFE CSI).. and then i gotta fill out paperwork before I can take them..IF they decide to let me have them!! To most First-Nations..the Eagle, Hawk and Raven are spiritual and sacred birds, and are treated as such!! Sad a few Assholes gotta do this kinda stuff, and screw everything up!!

Tammy Smith
T Zabel7 years ago

What an idiot! Glad he was caught

Sheryl p.
Sylvan M7 years ago

Glad he was cuaght when he was.

Megan Dietz
Megan Dietz7 years ago

The problem is u don't know how the man got these feathers. He could of killed the birds. No one knows.

charmaine c.
Charmaine C7 years ago

If moulted feathers would be allowed I can see Joe featherseller and his buddy capture and pluck a bird, maybe even kill it as a result, while claiming the feathers were picked up off the ground. You cannot trust people to do the right thing. They will find the angle if it means $$$$$. The only "crime" these days seems to be the fact that some people get caught.

Patrizia S.
Patrizia S7 years ago

Thanks Sharon for the post

Miguel A. Lopez V.


Alicia N.
Alicia N7 years ago

Thanks Sharon for the info. but no comment. Have an amazing day, mydear.

Philippa P.
Philippa P7 years ago

I see no reason why the naturally moulted feathers of endangered birds can't be used. As long as the bird moults naturally, no bird is injured while the feathers go on to a second life.

Isabel R.
Isabel Ramirez7 years ago

the article says he sold it, theres no proof that he in any way injured the animals. he coudl've acquired the materials through different means. i hope he gets a fair trial. i won't judge until all the facts are laid out