Homemade Bird Trap - Making the Guard Rails

Many Funnel Repeating Bird Trap designs I've seen just have two or more funnels in the trap. Many of them have the funnels placed opposite each other. There is one design that I've seen so far which incorporates a guard rail in addition to the funnel. A guard rail is positioned close to the end of the funnel or the funnel exit. This DIY project will use a guard rail to make the trap more effective.

Need for an Escape Barrier in the Trap

In the paper Outwitting the House Sparrow by William Fitzwatter, the author writes about the effectiveness of the Funnel Trap (also called Half-Cone trap) as compared with the Elevator Trap, Top Entrance Trap and the Drop Door Trap.
"From the above data, it can be seen the Funnel Trap manufactured by NLTC was most effective in the number of birds caught per trap day, followed closely by the Havahart Elevator Trap..."
In the same paper, he also describes a flaw in the common Funnel Trap:
"This trap consists of two half-cones pointing into the holding cage. It is discouraging to see birds get out of this as easily as they enter it. However, it still has the best trapping record of the group. In an earlier study, the writer banded and released birds which help create a sophisticated attitude towards the traps on the part of the sparrows. A female was once observed darting into the trap, picking up a piece of grain, squeezing back out the opening, and feeding a juvenile quivering with anticipation outside the trap. She repeated this operation several times..."

Purpose of the Sparrow Trap's Guard Rail

The guard rail attempts to address that flaw. The purpose of the guard rail is to prevent trapped sparrows from casually hopping on the floor of the cage and approach the exit hole to escape. The guard rail also has vertical spikes that discourages sparrows from even perching on the rail itself. That alone already prevents the trapped birds from finding a way out.

Although the guard rail is a barrier for a trapped sparrow to escape, it doesn't limit the space for an incoming sparrow to go in. Typically, when a sparrow nears the funnel exit, it sees the guard rail and finds ample space before the guard rail. As is the usual tendency, the sparrow "flies up" and exits the funnel but trapping itself.

Instructions for Making a Guard Rail
  1. Cut a piece of wire screen that is 7 1/2 inches long, and 2 inches high. Be sure to remove all edge wires and expose only spikes.

  2. On one edge along the length of the piece, retain two 1/8-inch long spikes. These two short spikes are one-inch away from both ends. Also retain two consecutive 1/8-inch spikes in the middle of the piece. Remove all other spikes on this edge. You're now left with four 1/8-inch spikes.

  3. With a pair of long-nose pliers, bend the four 1/8-inch spikes forward as shown below.

    This piece will become the guard rail.

  4. Position the guard rail on the floor of the bird trap cage as shown below. Slide the four 1/8-inch spikes under the wires of cage floor so they hook and are held in place.

    The resulting tension in the guard rail as held by the hooks will keep the guard rail standing and rigid.

    Notice the guard rail's placement relative to the funnel. Here's the view from below (bottom view) of the four hooked 1/8-inch spikes.

  5. Make another guard rail for the opposite funnel and install them. A big advantage of these guard rails is they're adjustable. You can easily unhook the wires and re-position the guard rails in the arrows indicated below. Doing so allows you to restrict further the opening at the funnel exit. This decreases the chances for trapped birds to escape.

Other articles in this series (click on the links below:)

Homemade Bird Trap - Build Plans & How it Works
Homemade Bird Trap - Materials and Tools
Homemade Bird Trap - Building the Housing
Homemade Bird Trap - Making the Funnels
Homemade Bird Trap - Making the Guard Rails (this article)
Homemade Bird Trap - Making the Access Hole
Homemade Bird Trap - Making the Door and Lock
Homemade Bird Trap - Making the Carrying Handle and Restraints
Homemade Bird Trap - Setting the Trap
Homemade Bird Trap - Painting the Cage
Homemade Bird Trap - Making a Perch for the Cage
Homemade Bird Trap - Pre-Baiting Sparrows
Homemade Bird Trap - Retrieving Trapped Birds
Homemade Bird Trap - Disposing Trapped Sparrows
Sparrow Trap by Day, Rat Trap by Night
Damage Caused by Sparrows

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