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:

Upon completion of this test the learner will:

Take the Test

Online Cowbird Certification Training (Online registration is required)


Annual Report 50 CFR 21.43 Depredation Order for Blackbirds, Grackles, Cowbirds, Magpies and Crows Form (Word Doc)