The spindle is next required. This is shown at (g), and consists of a small perch of wood seven inches in length, and notched at each end. In setting the trap, the door should be raised as seen in the main illustration. One of the notches in the spindle should now be caught beneath the loop and the other around one of the central wires in the end of the cage. The bait, consisting of a berry, bird-seed, or what-not, may be either fastened to the spindle or placed beneath on the wires. The call-bird having been introduced, the trap may now be left to itself. If the call-bird is well trained it will not be many minutes before the birds of the neighborhood will be attracted to the spot by its cries. Ere long one less cautious than the rest will be seen to perch upon the top of the cage. He soon discovers the bait, and alighting upon the perch, throws it asunder, and in an instant the trap door closes over its captive. The cage is sometimes constructed double, having two compartments beneath for call-birds, and two traps above, in general resembling two of the single traps placed side by side. The decoy bird is not an absolute necessity to the success of the trap. Many birds are caught simply by the bait alone. The trap cage, when constructed on a larger scale, is often successfully employed in the capture of the owl. In this case it is baited with a live mouse or bird, and set during the evening in a conspicuous place. A trap working on this principle, being especially adapted to the capture of the owl, will be noticed hereafter.
Although slightly complicated in construction, our next illustration presents one of the prettiest bird traps on record, and may be made in the following manner, and by frequently referring to the picture, our explanation will be easily understood.
The first step is to make or procure a low flat box, about fifteen inches long, by ten inches in width, with a depth of about two inches. Next fasten an interior box, of the same [Page 81] height, leaving a space of about three-quarters of an inch between them all round. A platform should now be made. Let it be of such a size that it will just fit in the interior box, with a very slight space all around its edge. It should then be pivoted in the upper part of this box by two small slender pins, one being driven through into its edge, at the centre of each end. Let it be sensitively poised. The next thing to be done, is to arrange the spindle and catch. The latter should consist of a tack or small bit of wood fastened on the middle of the platform, about an inch from one end, as seen both in the main illustration and in the diagram at (b).
The spindle should consist of a flat piece of wood, secured with a leather hinge to the edge of the outside box, directly opposite the catch. Let it be long enough to reach and barely hold itself beneath the catch. When thus in its position, two small plugs should next be driven into the edge of the inner box, one on each side of the spindle, thus holding it in place. A glance at our illustration makes this clear. The netting and “hoop” are next in order. The hoop should consist of an iron wire of the diameter of common telegraph wire.