Design and effectiveness of a novel trap for capturing nesting songbirds

TitleDesign and effectiveness of a novel trap for capturing nesting songbirds
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsSousa, BF, Stewart, SLM
JournalJournal of Field Ornithology
Pagination425 -429
Accession NumberKNZ001459

Capturing songbirds at their nests can be challenging and time consuming. Although traps designed for capturing songbirds at their nests have been described in the literature, few are effective for capturing species with open-cup nests. We describe a cylindrical trap designed to capture songbirds at nests up to 2 m above ground in grasses, forbs, shrubs, and small saplings. The nest trap is constructed using a rigid hoop, two pieces of mist net, three stakes, and twist ties. We used this trap to capture female Dickcissels (Spiza americana) and female Indigo Buntings (Passerina cyanea) at their nests, with success rates of 85% (N= 196) and 60–73% (N= 16), respectively. Trapping success was comparable to that using other passerine nest trap designs. Nest abandonment after trapping attempts was rare and similar to that reported in previous studies. Our nest trap is lightweight, easy to make, versatile enough to use in a variety of grassland and shrub habitats, and easily carried and deployed in the field.