The trap consists only of a sieve tilted up on edge and thus propped in position by a slender stick. To this stick a string or thread is attached and the same carried to some near place of concealment, when the trapper may retire out of sight and watch for his “little bird.” The ground beneath the sieve is strewn with bread crumbs, seed or other bait, and while the unsuspecting birds are enjoying their repast, the string is pulled and they are made prisoners. The sieve may be arranged with a spindle as described for the coop trap, page (68), and may thus be left to take care of itself. Where [Page 66] the birds are plenty and easily captured, the former method answers the purpose perfectly, but when tedious waiting is likely to ensue the self-acting trap is better.
This is a very old invention, and has always been one of the three or four stereotyped specimens of traps selected for publication in all Boys’ Books. It is probably well known to most of our readers.
Take four bricks, and arrange them on the ground, as seen in our engraving, letting them rest on their narrow sides. If properly arranged, they should have a space between them, nearly as large as the broad surface of the brick. A small, forked twig of the shape shown in the separate drawing (b) having a small piece cut away from each side of the end, should then be procured. Next cut a slender stick, about four inches in length, bluntly pointed at each end. A small plug with a flat top should now be driven into the ground, inside the trap, about three inches from either of the end bricks and projecting about two inches from the ground. The trap is then ready to be set. Lay the flat end of the forked twig over the top of the plug, with the forks pointing forward, or toward the end of the enclosure nearest the plug. The pointed stick should then be adjusted, placing one end on the flat end of the fork, over the plug, and the other beneath the fifth brick, which should be rested upon it. The drawing (b) clearly shows the arrangement of the pieces. The bait, consisting of berries, bird-seed, or other similar substances should then be scattered on the ground on the inside of the enclosure. When the bird flies [Page 67] to the trap he will generally alight on the forked twig, which by his weight tilts to one side and dislodges the pieces, thus letting fall the sustained brick.
It is not intended to kill the bird, and when rightly constructed will capture it alive. Care is necessary in setting the topmost brick in such a position that it will fall aright, and completely cover the open space. This is a very simple and effectual little contrivance, and can be made with a box instead of bricks, if desired. A piece of board may also be substituted for the top brick, and the enclosure beneath made larger by spreading the bricks further apart, thus making a more roomy dungeon for the captive bird.