No Country for Old Cowbirds

This is Passport to Texas

Calling a brown-headed cowbird a cowbird, is a misnomer as far as biologist Marsha May is concerned.

05—I think they should be called bison birds, and not cowbirds, because they evolved with the bison.

The bird’s inclination to lay its eggs in other birds’ nests can potentially cause the decline of species with small populations, such as the endangered Black-capped Vireo. Additional species are also affected.

19—Woodland species are now being impacted by brown-headed cowbirds, because we’ve fragmented the woods. Previously those woodland species were protected by the woods. Now that it’s fragmented, the cowbirds are getting into that habitat, and they’re parasitizing birds that have never historically been parasitized before.

The cowbird is in the blackbird family. The male has a black body and brown head, while the female is mottled brown and gray. Now that you know what they look like, with certification, you can intervene on songbirds’ behalf.

11—You can actually become certified in Texas to trap for cowbirds, and that’s mainly during the breeding season, between March first and May thirty-first. And, mainly you’re trying to trap the females.

Find certification information at, and get ready for spring cowbird trapping.

That’s our show… we receive support from the Wildlife Restoration Program… funded by your purchase of shooting and hunting equipment.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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