Homemade Bird Trap - Pre-Baiting Sparrows

There seem to be several theories as far as pre-baiting sparrows is concerned.

From what I've researched, most would suggest pre-baiting for three days. One source suggested pre-baiting up to a week. Another suggested not to pre-bait at all!

Last year, in the first time that I used the homemade bird traps, I managed to trap Yellow Vented Bulbuls. During that time, I didn't even pre-bait. For bait, I just put in some tiny pieces of bread. For sparrows, I wasn't quite sure what bait to use.

Type of Bait for Sparrows

My observation though was that sparrows seem to eat anything. In a rice mill I visit, I see hundreds of sparrows. I suppose they eat even the un-milled rice, the ones with the husk. At home, I see them peck on bits of leftover cooked rice.

When I went to a feeds store, I asked around. But what they had were mostly for chickens and fighting cocks. The store lady suggested wheat and cracked corn though. One open sack in the store had this combination - wheat and cracked corn. Well, I read that sparrows eat these too. I just don't know which sparrows. The pesky ones that we have are called Eurasian Tree Sparrows (Passer montanus). The wheat and cracked corn mix was cheap and so I bought just half a kilo for Php 12.

I also wanted to try crumbs. Not bread crumbs, but cracker or cookie crumbs. I noticed that sparrows here mostly peck on very tiny food particles.

Strategy for Prebaiting the Sparrow Trap

I tried a 7-day period to pre-bait the trap because these sparrows seem to be intelligent pests. The strategy for a week prebaiting period was to gradually introduce the sparrow trap which is an unfamiliar object to the birds.

Day 1 - No Sparrow Traps

Just to make it obvious that there will be plenty of bait available, I set up two feeding stations where there will be food for all. This is the first feeding station.

This is the view from my window in the second floor of the house. Notice I cut up a used carton box for the landing board. The landing board is just lying on top of the garden arbor. The bait is then sprinkled on the landing board.

For bait, I used two types: the wheat and cracked corn mix, and cracker crumbs. For the cracker crumbs bait, I simply placed old cookies and cheap crackers in a thick plastic bag. I then crushed all the contents in the plastic bag until the contents became small pieces.

The other landing board is positioned two meters away but also on top of the garden arbor. This second feeding station is shown below.

Day 2 - No Sparrow Traps

The sparrows are generally quite alert and wary of people. Even from my bedroom window, they could hear the slightest sound, see people moving, and then fly away. The bird shown below may have seen my bedroom curtains moving, looked up (when I took the photo), saw me and flew away.

I noticed that the cracker crumbs bait was the first to go. It's not that the sparrows didn't like the wheat seed and cracked corn mix. I'm just guessing that they weren't used to seeing and tasting all that much food at one time.

Day 3 - No Sparrow Traps

Just to test my theory, not scientific of course, I interchanged the bait placement of the wheat-corn mix with that of the cracker crumbs.

I also taped up the slits of the landing board because some bait was falling through to the ground. I didn't want the sparrows to feed on the ground, but on the landing board.

Remember, the bait needs to be the only source of food, as much as possible. My theory was right. Even as I replenished but interchanged the position of the two baits, the sparrows consumed the cracker crumbs first.

The first three days of prebaiting gave me a chance to learn the bait preference of these sparrows.

Day 4 and Day 5 - Sparrow Traps near the Bait

It's time to introduce the traps. But no, I'm not baiting the traps just yet. So I'm not expecting any trapped sparrows. I have two traps and I positioned the sparrow traps near the bait in the two feeding stations. The two feeding stations are two meters apart.

In the morning, there is hardly any activity at the landing boards.

That's a sparrow on the top left corner of the above photo. Sparrows here feed in the afternoon rather than in the morning. It's usually around 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm where you will find the most sparrows.

With the introduction of the homemade sparrow traps, some sparrows became wary. Although some would immediately drop on the landing board to feed, many would first watch from a ledge on the concrete fence as shown below.

That white cylinder on the left of the photo is a homemade vine guard to prevent invasive vines from climbing the guy wires.

Day 6 and Day 7 - Bait in between the Sparrow Traps

This time, the two landing boards from the two feeding stations were brought together. The bait was placed in the center of the two landing boards. The two sparrow traps "sandwiched" the bait.

As usual, there wasn't much activity in the morning. But in the afternoon, a few sparrows would congregate right in between the two traps. They've probably become accustomed to seeing these sparrow traps by now.

These sparrow traps have become familiar objects to them that some would even perch on the traps.

Day 8 - Bait inside the Sparrow Traps

Fiesta time is over. With seven days gone, the one-week pre-baiting period is over. There are now many sparrows that are frequent visitors in this area.

Although the bait is actually sprinkled under the sparrow traps, there are still some left along the sides of the landing board. Here is a lone sparrow feeding in the morning.

In the afternoon, more sparrows visit to feed. Some now even venture to enter the funnel (or half-cone) as there is plenty of bait sprinkled there as well. Below are two sparrows inside the opposite funnels of one cage.

One of them got in too deep and "flew up" while inside the cage. And just like that, it was trapped. That's how the homemade bird trap works. The other two sparrows (there were three) didn't seem to realize what just happened. You'll know the sparrow was trapped because it is resting on a cage perch.

Here's a magnified photo of the trapped sparrow in the homemade bird trap .

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
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 (this article)
Homemade Bird Trap - Retrieving Trapped Birds
Homemade Bird Trap - Disposing Trapped Sparrows
Sparrow Trap by Day, Rat Trap by Night
Damage Caused by Sparrows

Go ahead, post your comment below!

Anonymous said...

I like your trap write-up and experience trapping sparrows. Here is a trap that works in 2 minutes vs. days. We actually use the Sparrow Trap Door to catch the decoy and then put the decoy in a trap like yours. This way we can catch the whole batch of them in a short time without pre-baiting.