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TRAPS ARE VARIED AND INGENIOUS
Gilbert Cant
October 19, 1959
The first trap widely used by banders (and still popular) was a funnel type, known as the government sparrow trap, because it was designed in 1912 by the Department of Agriculture for farmers trying to get rid of house (or "English") sparrows. It is good not only for these pests (which nearly all banders despise) but for many of the 30-odd species of native American sparrows (which are beneficial and a delight to the eye and ear) and a wide variety of other small birds. Lured by such baits as seed and bread crumbs, the birds push through the first funnel, which ends in a horseshoe of converging wires. What looks like "the way out" proves to be another funnel, leading to a second compartment, so the birds are double-trapped. When the bander is ready to collect them he shoos them into a gathering cage which may be permanently attached or hooked on over a small door opening when needed.
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October 19, 1959

Traps Are Varied And Ingenious

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Peter Scott, the famous British wildfowl artist and conservationist, can claim the most extraordinary development; he introduced rocketry into trapping. At the refuge of the Severn Wildfowl Trust large numbers of wintering geese would sit around for hours, tightly bunched, in favored resting areas. Beside such an area, Scott pegged down one long edge of a big cotton net, folded the net back and forth on itself and attached cordite-charged rockets to the outer edge. Wires for the electric detonator led to his blind. When the geese learned to accept the presence of the folded net, all Scott had to do was press a button. The rockets fired and hurled the net out over the birds' heads. By switching from cotton to nylon, Scott has been able to use a net as big as 60 by 180 feet, weighing only 20 pounds, and propelled by as many as six rockets. Working for the FWS at the Swan Lake Refuge in Missouri, Herbert H. Dill and William H. Thornsberry adapted Scott's technique to the use of cannon instead of rockets. Dill made his cannon barrels from the drive-shaft housings of model A Fords, and after an enormous amount of welding, drilling and bolting got an assembly in which 12-gauge shotgun shells, especially loaded with black powder, serve as the propellant. They are fired from afar by a blasting machine. Most cannon nets used in America are smaller than Scott's, though Dill has used one 100 by 125 feet and caught 100 or more geese in it at one blast.

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