Online Cowbird Certification Training
All persons wishing to trap cowbirds must be certified through an approved training program before the trap is put into operation. This training is offered at no cost by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and affords the landowner with permit coverage to handle and release non-target birds that may inadvertently enter the trap. All applicable state and federal laws must be observed during the duration of trapping. If questions arise, contact your closest TPWD office for assistance.
Because cowbirds are a native species in North America, they are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. However, there are exceptions to this law for acts of depredation by a few select species. Under the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, Section 64.002(c) brown-headed cowbirds are included among this small group of eight non-protected bird species that may be killed when “found committing or about to commit depredations on ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, livestock, or wildlife, or when concentrated in numbers and in a manner that constitutes a health hazard or other nuisance.” State regulations may not supersede federal regulations, so it is important that all participants in this project follow the protocols outlined here. No traps are to be in operation either before March 1, or after May 31.
Successful completion of this online training will certify you to trap cowbirds and release non-target birds. A score of 100% is required for passing. There is no limit to the number of times the test may be taken.
The goals of this test are:
- Enable more people to be conveniently certified to trap cowbirds.
- Educate landowners and other interested persons to the background and biological necessity for trapping cowbirds to reduce nest parasitism on songbird populations.
- Provide the information necessary for landowners and other interested persons to successfully, properly, and safely maintain a cowbird trap, identify cowbirds, and safely release non-target captures.
Upon completion of this test the learner will:
- Be able to correctly answer all quiz questions with an accuracy of 100%.
- Be able to distinguish cowbirds from other birds.
- Know why cowbird trapping is beneficial to songbird populations.
- Know how to properly set up and maintain a cowbird trap.
- Know the proper procedures for humanely dispatching cowbirds.
Take the Test
Online Cowbird Certification Training (Online registration is required)