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Hawk Trap

(see picture at bottom)
Note to all non state/federally permitted individuals:

Sever Federal and state pelenties are in place
for harrassing, killing, trapping, possessing any part
of a raptor (even just feathers) etc. It is strongly
recommended that you become familiar with these
regualtions before becoming involved with raptor
related activities.
The Swedish Goshawk Trap
By HEINZ MENG, Department of Biological Sciences
State University College, New Paltz, New York


The trap consists of two parts: the trap proper and the bait cage. The trap is made of
redwood lumber using I" x 6", 1" x 3", and 1 x 2" stock. Redwood waschosen for its
resistance to warping and to weather and because of its dark colour. Painting is,
therefore, not necessary.The bait cage is made of I" x 1" galvanized welded wire and
its overall dimensions are 3 x 3 x I foot. An access door of about 10 inches wide is cut
intoTo construct the trap proper, four 3-foot pieces of I" x 6" redwood are, Cut. Two of
these are then shortened by two board thickness and fastened together withlong wood
screws. Throughout the construction of the trap, wood screws arc, used, and all holes
are predrilled to prevent splitting. The finished a 3-foot square. Next, four pieces 25 x 1
x 3 inches are cut with 45-degree angle points at the ends. These are screwed to the base
square. One piece, 1" x 3" is then attached to the inside of each peak for reinforcement.
Next, six pieces of 1 " x 2" redwood stock are cut for the horizontal door pieces. These
I" x 2" are two board-widths longer than 3 feet, since the peaks have been fastened to
the outsides of the base square. The four vertical door pieces, cut 30 inches long, are
fastened in such a way that they extend 4 inches below the bottom horizontal door
pieces. This arrangement prevents the doors from opening too far beyond the vertical
position when the trap is set. After the doors have been assembled, they are attached to
the square base by six hinges-three for each door. We have found brass hinges with
fixed pins to be best since they do riot rust and the pins remain in place.The closing
mechanism consists of four car-accelerator springs. The long ends of the springs are cut
off and eyes formed. The springs are fastened with screw eyes (refer to drawing). When
set, the doors of the trap are kept open by a trigger stick made of 1" x 2" stock 35
inches long and hinged in the middle. Just under the hinge, the butt ends are slightly
beveled so that the stick bends upwards slightly when set. This lessens the chance of the
trap being sprung prematurely by the wind or by the vibrations of the fluttering birds
used for bait. The tension of the springs and the friction keep the trigger stick in

Pulled and hammered back. Our traps have usually been baited with pigeons because they are hardy.To keep the doors from reopening after they have been sprung.. which should be stapled to the doors before the doors are fastened to the trap. cage. is fastened to the center of the top of the. The catches snap over protruding heads of roundhead screws on each peak. The trap is attached to the bait cage by means of leather straps threaded through predrilled holes near each corner of the base. This completes the trap. the doors and triangular peak. The four corners of the bait cage must be staked down so that the wind cannot blow the trap over. we place a flat board on the bottum of the bait cage for the comfort of the bait birds. To help keep the trigger stick in position. The other end is then bent and adjusted so that it snaps over the screw head and locks the door securely. a stiff piece of clear plastic. catches made of cat hanger wire are fashioned and attached to the top ends of the doors. The catch wire is pushed through predrilled holes in the doors. This gives the bait birds some protection from the weather and allows them to be easily seen by the raptors. and secured. and they move around enough to attract attention. easily obtained. The middle horizontal door pieces should be fastened only 5 inches above the bottom pieces so that the raptor will be far enough down in the trap so that it will not be hit by the doors when the trap springs shut. To transport it. about afoot square. a finishing nail bent and sharpened to resemble a large staple can be embedded in each door at the spots where the trigger stick is inserted. Generally.position. are covered loosely with cotton or nylon netting. Also. the two sections are separated. bent in a U-shape. SETTING UP The trap should be placed where it can easily be seen. since the birds can injure themselves badly on it. two birds were used per trap.To keep the raptors in the trap and prevent them from being injured. . Mesh used in the manufacture of badrninton nets has proved quite satisfactory. A raptor jumping down into the trap dislodges or breaks the hinged stick and the doors snap closed. Chicken wire should never be used. When there is snow on the ground.

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