The Funnel Trap Experiment

A funnel trap near the old lek site

Over the last few days, I’ve been pre-baiting a home-made funnel trap for rooks and jackdaws, made out of partridge pen sections and old release pen netting. The idea occurred to me that, while I’ve got used to rooks and jackdaws flying around the old farm buildings near the lek site, I really can’t go on ignoring them altogether. I’ve shot one or two as and when the opportunity presented itself, but if I’m going to plant cover crops and make some real progress on the hill, they’ve got to go. The rooks fly over from a rookery on the neighbour’s farm, and they’ll obviously be keen to find eggs and chicks as the spring goes on, while the jackdaws sit in the ash trees above the farmhouse and drop into the chimneys to feed their skrieking broods.

Noticing that they’ve been feeding from my wheat hopper, I built the pen around the container and allowed them to get used to feeding from it. I put the roof on last night with a funnel made to 1970s MAFF dimensions which I found in an old manual. True to form, the trap seems to work, but not on the large scale that I was hoping for. I caught a handful of rooks and no jackdaws whatsoever, and while I’m pleased, I’m also a little disappointed.

Maybe the trap will get better the more it’s used and really come into its own as breeding birds develop a keener hunger, but I must say that I expected more from my ladder trap. That said, if it’s not working well then it’s more likely to be that I’ve made a mistake in positioning it than any inherent flaws in the design…

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