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How to make a repeating sparrow trap

2013-06-30   Views:50


Many people seek a humane way to trap and remove invasive house sparrows from their property. House sparrows are a hardy species that was imported to North America from England in the 1800s. They take over nesting sites of native birds, killing their

How to make a repeating sparrow trap

Many people seek a humane way to trap and remove invasive house sparrows from their property. House sparrows are a hardy species that was imported to North America from England in the 1800s. They take over nesting sites of native birds, killing their young and eating whatever is available. Traps are available for purchase; however, those with building skills may wish to assemble their own. Chuck Abare, long-time purple marlin fan, provides detailed instructions for building a repeating sparrow trap to remove house sparrow pests.

Skill level:Challenging

Things you need

2 boards 18 inch by 5 ½ inch2 boards 9 inch by 5 ½ inch2 dozen treated bugle head decking screws, 1 5/8 inch1 gallon wide-mouth plastic jug12 inch by 1 1/4 inch by 3/8-inch board of lightweight wood, such as white pine3 wood screws, #6 by 1/2 inch35mm film canister and cover1 small box of BBs2 small finish nails.04" thick aluminium, 2 inch by 6 inchesFile or heavy duty sand paper4 very small washers1 dozen short roofing nailsA 1/4-20 bolt, 1 1/4 inch3 flat washers2 wing nuts2 pieces of plywood, 18 inch by 10 inch2 hinges, 1 1/2 inch1/4 inch all thread, 2 inches long1 board, 4 ¼ inch by 3 inch2 boards, 5 inch by 3 inch1 board, 8 inch by 3 inch8 feet thin wall PVC tubing, 4-inch diameter2 square feet welded wire screen, 1 inch by 1/2 inch2 feet of small diameter flexible wire8 small screws8 large fender washers5-inch square piece of woodHeavy duty scissorsDrill motor with a good selection of drill bitsA 1 1/2-inch hole sawJigsaw with wood cutting blade (scroll blade)Tin snipsMetal fileWire cutting pliersNeedle nose pliersHammerScrew driver


Building the Trap Frame and Counter Balance

1 To build the frame for the trap, secure the two 9-inch boards to the inside of the 18-inch boards using the 1 5/8-inch decking screws.

2 You may wish to add two 5 1/2 by 1 ½-inch feet to the bottom, so that it will stand level upon completion. The two feet will be sufficient to lift the frame, as wing nuts will protrude from the bottom of the completed frame.

3 To construct the counter balance, mark the gallon jug with a level line approximately 5 1/8 inches from the opening.

4 Using the sharp, heavy-duty scissors, cut along the line to remove the bottom, closed end of the jug.

5 Measure 1/2 inch from the end of the 12-inch long white pine board. Pre-drill a hole with a 1/16-inch diameter. Measure an inch from that hole and drill another 1/16 inch hole. These holes will be used to secure the gallon jug.

6 Measure 1/2 inch from the other end and pre-drill one more hole. This will be used to secure the weight.

7 Mark two spots that are one inch apart in the centre of your jug. Using a 1/8 inch bit, drill two holes of 1/8 inch in diameter.

8 Use the two #6 by ½-inch long wood screws to affix the jug to the white pine board.

9 In the bottom of the film canister, drill a 1/8 inch hole. Remove the canister's cap, and use the #6 screw to secure the canister to the white pine board, on the end that is opposite the jug. This will become the weight in the counter balance.

10 Fill the film canister with BBs and secure the cap on.

11 Measure 4 inches from the end with the canister and mark along the side of the board. Nail a small finish nail at the mark, leaving ¼ inch protruding from the board. Repeat with the opposite side, ensuring that the nails form a straight line. The nails will provide the pivot point of the counter balance.

12 Bend the 2-inch by 6-inch aluminium in a U shape with the arms being 1 3/8-inch apart. This aluminium piece will be the bracket for the counter balance pivot.


How to make a repeating sparrow trap

Measure and mark 1 ½ inch up from the bottom of each bracket arm. Be certain that the mark is centred. Drill holes in each mark, slightly larger than the small finish nails that are the pivot points in the white pine board.

14 Use tin snips to cut the corners off the arms to create a triangular shape. File down any sharp spots. When complete, the pivot bracket will have a 2-inch base with a smaller (approximately 1 inch) top where the nails of the pine board insert into the bracket.

15 Drill a 5/16-inch diameter hole in the bottom of the bracket. Fit the bracket onto the centre of the white pine board.


How to make a repeating sparrow trap

Place two washers on each nail, and affix the nails into the pre-drilled holes. Make sure that the washers are loose and not pushed tight against the aluminium.

17 Position the counter balance into the frame. Make sure it sits squarely within the frame and will move through its full range of motion. Once in position, mark all four edges of the aluminium bracket onto the frame, so that you can ensure proper placement of the counter balance.

18 Disassemble the bracket and reset just the aluminium bracket within the lines. Through the hole in the bottom of the bracket, mark the wood. Transfer the mark to the bottom of the board for drilling by drawing a line perpendicular to the edge of the wood, down the side, to the bottom. Be sure the new mark is in the centre of the board. Drill a 5/16-inch diameter hole.

19 Place the counterbalance in place, insert a ¼-20 bolt with washer into the bracket and frame from the top, and secure with another washer and wing nut underneath the frame.


How to make a repeating sparrow trap

Building the Front Door and Back Panel

1 Measure from the top of the frame to the top of the jug opening. This is the location of the top of your hole. Add ¾ inch to that number, which will be the centre of your 1 ½-inch hole.

2 Measure horizontally to find the centre of your jug.

3 On one of the 18-by-10-inch pieces of wood, mark vertically and horizontally to find the drilling spot of your hole. Drill a 1 ½-inch hole. This lines up with the gallon jug and is where the sparrow will enter the trap.

4 Attach the front door using 1 ½-inch utility hinges on the left side of the plywood.

5 Cut a small slot in the approximate centre of the plywood door's right side. This slot should slightly larger than the all thread, which is a bolt without a head and thread that runs the entire length. The slot should be approximately 1/2-inch deep into the door. This will be used to secure the door to the frame, while making it easy to access the counter balance inside.

6 With the door closed, mark where the centre of the slot meets the frame. Drill a hole at the mark that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the all thread bolt.

7 Screw the all thread into the hole and close the door. Place a washer and wing nut onto the all thread bolt to secure.

8 Now you will repeat with the back of the frame to create an exit for the sparrow. Push the jug down and measure from the bottom of the frame to the bottom lip of the jug. Add ¾ inch to find the centre and drill a 1 ½-inch hole in the other 18-by-10-inch plywood. Nail the plywood to the back of the frame using the roofing nails.

Building the Down Chute

1 Once the bird is caught, it will need to be transferred to a holding area. You will now create the down chute to carry the bird to the holding area. Using the four small screws, affix the 4 ¼-inch board inside the two 5-inch boards to form a U.

2 Complete the square by centring the 8-inch board on the open end and securing with four more small screws. Since the fourth side is longer by 3 3/4 inches, it will overhang the 5-inch boards. This overhang will be used to connect the down chute to the frame.

3 Cut off a 10-inch piece of PVC tubing from the bottom (or smaller) end of the 4-inch thin-walled PVC tubing.

4 Pre-drill four holes evenly around the tubing and fit it into the down chute frame with the cut end up. Secure.

5 Use the hole saw to cut a 1 ½-inch hole through the centre of the 8-inch board and the pipe, which will be snug against it.

6 Secure the ½ -by-1-inch cage screen to the top of the frame with short roofing nails. This will allow air flow to the captured bird, but prevent escape.

7 Use two decking screws to attach the down chute to the trap. The hole in the back panel must line up accurately with the hole in the 8-inch board. The wire opening will be up and the PVC pipe of the down chute will hang below the trap.

Building the Downpipe and Hanging the Trap

1 You will need to build a downpipe, which will connect the down chute to the cage below. Measure the circumference of the bottom of the remaining PVC tubing (where you cut the 10-inch piece). Normally, the tube will be approximately 13 ½ inches.

2 Measure an inch from the bottom and drill four 3/16 inch holes on each the front, back and sides.

3 Cut a12 -by-14-inch of wire cage, leaving the cross wires exposed along the edge.

4 Roll the cage and with needle nose pliers. Connect the two sides by wrapping the exposed wires around the first vertical wire. This will secure the closed cage.

5 Use the four small screws and fender washers to attach the wire cage to the PVC tube. The bird will travel from the jug inside the trap, to the down chute and into the cage, where it will be trapped until you retrieve it.

6 Measure the inside diameter of the cage and shape the 5-inch square piece of wood to fit as a floor. Pre-drill four holes and secure as the bottom of the cage using washers and screws.

7 Using the wire-cutting pliers, cut a piece that is big enough for your hand out of the wire cage. This is where you will open the cage to remove the trapped birds. Get as close to the frame as possible to prevent getting scratched when retrieving a bird from the trap.

8 From the scrap cage wire, cut a piece that is 1 inch taller and two sections wider than the hole you just cut. This will be the door to the cage.

9 Cut off all but two wires on the left. The remaining wires should be near the top and bottom and will act as hinges. Cut off all of the wires except the middle one on the right side. This wire will act as a hook, enabling you to easily open and lock the cage door.

10 Hook the two wires on the left to the vertical wire. Bend the wire on the right so that it hooks behind the vertical wire.

11 Bend the door slightly so that the tension will cause it to spring back and secure the hook. Squeezing the door should be all that is required to open the cage.

12 The finished sparrow trap can be hung on a tree or on the side of a building. You can even install a post in problem areas specifically for the trap. To hang, pre-measure so that the cage hangs about waist high. Secure the trap, and then slide the PVC tubing from the top of the wire cage up onto to the tubing on the trap. Suspend the catch basket with a nail to keep it in place.

13 Birds will enter the front of the trap into the jug, which will drop with the weight of the bird. The bird, trying to escape, will enter the drop chute in the back of the frame and drop down to the cage below. There is not enough room for the bird to fly back up the chute. Check your trap daily to release native birds and to properly remove unwanted house sparrows.

Tips and warnings

Be certain that the weight of the BBs in the film canister is sufficient enough to cause the counter balance to trip when a house sparrow enters. Dropping a quarter or a quarter and a nickel into the gallon jug should cause the trap to move.

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