The method of setting the coop trap above described is a great improvement on the old style of setting, and is an improvement original with the author of this work. In the old method a semi-circular hoop of rattan is used in place of the bait stick above. The ends of the rattan are fastened to one of the lower back pieces of the coop, and the hoop is just large enough to fit inside the opening of the coop. This rattan rests just above the ground, and the spindle catches against its inside edge in place of the notch in the bait stick already described, the bait being scattered inside the hoop. When the bird approaches, it steps upon the rattan, and thus pressing it downward releases the spindle and the coop falls; but experience has shown the author that it does not always secure its intruders, but as often falls upon their backs and sends them off limping to regain their lost senses. By the author’s improvement it will be seen that the whole body of the bird must be beneath the coop before the bait sticks can be reached and that when properly set it is absolutely certain to secure its victim. The author can recommend it as infallible, and he feels certain that anyone giving both methods a fair trial will discard the old method as worthless in comparison.
With English bird-catchers this contrivance is in common use, but so far as we know it has not been utilized to any great extent in this country. It is chiefly used at night by the aid of a lantern, and large numbers of sparrows and other birds are often secured.
[Page 71] [Illustration]
Our illustration gives a very clear idea of the net, which may be constructed as follows: Procure two light flexible poles, about eight feet in length; to the tip of each a cord should be attached, and the same secured to the middle of the pole, having drawn down the tip to the bend, shown in our engraving. The two bent ends should now be attached together by a hinge of leather. A piece of mosquito netting is next in order, and it should be of such a size as to cover the upper bent halves of the poles, as seen in the illustration—the bottom edge being turned up into a bag, about ten inches in depth. The contrivance is now complete, and is used as follows: Three persons are generally required, and a dark night is chosen. Hay stacks, evergreens, and thick bushes offer a favorite shelter to numerous small birds, and it is here that they are sought by the bird-hunters. A breezy night is preferable, as the birds perch low, and are not so easily startled by unusual sounds.