Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Ladder traps

I spotted this trap the other day, deep down in the northern horn of Lonsdale.

So a battle through the bracken to take a closer look.

It’s what is known as a ‘ladder trap’ and consists of a timber-frame covered in chicken-wire mesh with a ‘V’ shaped roof leading to a narrow opening so that any bird entering can not escape when they try to fly out.

This one looks relatively new, maybe a year or two old, but I’m sure it hasn’t been in use this year judging by the grass growth inside, although some ‘enlightened‘ gamekeepers advocate trapping in April/May prior to the nesting season, so that nestlings do not suffer.

Some bait or, more often, a decoy bird would be placed inside, but in that case, to comply with bird welfare legislation, water, food and a perch must be provided and the trap visited daily.

The access door was securely closed with a sliding bolt and hasp.

And therein lies my concern. Any bird, a crow or magpie, entering the trap, will not be able to escape and will die a slow cruel death.

I understand that under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to “set in position … any trap” which would “cause bodily injury to any wild bird coming into contact therewith1Legislation.gov.uk. (2012). Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. [online] Available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69/section/5 [Accessed 11 Jul. 2022]..

Indeed one of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation’s “golden rules” states “Always consider the welfare of … any other birds you may have trapped2“TRAPPING PEST BIRDS IN THE UK — A CODE OF PRACTICE”. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation. Revised 2016. Available online at: https://basc.org.uk/advice/how-to-make-a-ladder-trap/ [Accessed 11 Jul. 2022]..

Ladder traps are supposed to be used in accordance with ‘general licences‘ by DEFRA — in the case of traps for wild birds, GL33 — and “must be physically inspected at least every 25 hours3England, N. (2020). Trapping wild birds: standard licence conditions (GL33). [online] GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standard-licence-conditions-for-trapping-wild-birds-and-using-decoys-gl33/valid-from-1-january-trapping-wild-birds-standard-licence-conditions-wml-gl33#condition-5-inspect-your-traps [Accessed 11 Jul. 2022]..

I find it hard to believe that this particular trap is or has been visited every day to ensure that any trapped bird does not suffer unnecessarily.

Here endth my rant for the day.






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