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The Box Owl Trap


The use of a box trap for the capture of an owl is certainly an

odd idea, but we nevertheless illustrate a contrivance which has

been successfully used for that purpose.

The box in this case should be of the proportions shown in our

engraving, and well ventilated with holes, as indicated. (This

ventilation is, by-the-way, a good feature to introduce in all

traps.) Having made or selected a suitable box--s
y, fourteen or

more inches wide, provided with a cover, working on a hinge--proceed

to fasten on the outside of the lid a loop of stiff wire, bent in

the shape shown at (e). This may be fastened to the cover by

means of small staples, or even tacks, and should project over

the edge about two inches. When this is done, the lid should be

raised to the angle shown in our illustration, and the spot where

the end of the wire loop touches the back of the box should be

marked and a slit cut through the wood at this place, large enough

for the angle of the loop to pass through. Two elastics should

now be fastened to the inside of the box, being secured to the

bottom at the side, and the other to the edge of the cover, as

seen in the illustration. They should be sufficiently strong to

draw down the cover quickly. The perch, or spindle, should consist

of a light stick of wood, as shown at (b,) one end provided with

a slight notch, and the other fastened to the inside of the front

of the box by a string or leather hinge, (c,) keeping the notch on

the upper side of the stick. It will be now seen that by opening

the cover, until the loop enters through the groove, and by then

hooking the notch in the spindle under the loop as seen at (a)

the trap will be set, and if properly done it will be found that a

very slight weight on the spindle will set it free from the loop

and let the cover down with swiftness.

To secure the cover in place a small tin catch should now be applied

to the front edge of the box, as shown in the illustration. A piece

of tin two inches in length by a half an inch in breadth will answer

for this purpose. One end should be bent

down half an inch at a pretty sharp angle, and the other attached

by two tacks, to the edge of the box, in the position shown in

the cut. This precaution will effectually prevent the escape of

whatever bird, large or small, the trap may chance to secure. It

is a necessary feature of the trap, as without it the elastics

might be torn asunder and the lid thereby easily raised.

This trap may be baited in a variety of ways. As it is particularly

designed for a bird trap, it is well to sprinkle the bottom of

the box with berries, bird-seed, small insects, such as crickets,

grasshoppers, etc. These latter are very apt to jump out, and it

may be well to fasten one or two of them to the bottom with a pin

through the body, just behind the head.

There are many kinds of birds which live almost exclusively on

insects; and as this bait is of rather a lively kind, there is

scarcely any other method to retain them in their position. A bird

on approaching this trap will almost irresistibly alight on the

perch, and if not at first, it is generally sure to do so before

long. If desired, a pasteboard platform may be fastened on the

top of the perch with small tacks, and the bait scattered upon

it. This will act in the same manner, and might, perhaps, be a

trifle more certain. We will leave it to our readers to experiment


We have given this variety the name of owl-trap, because it may

be used with success in this direction. When set for this purpose,

it should be baited with a live mouse, small rat or bird, either

fastened to the bottom of the trap, if a bird, or set in with the

trap inclosing it, if a mouse. A small bird is the preferable bait,

as it may be easily fastened to the bottom of the box by a string,

and as a general thing is more sure to attract the attention of

the owl by its chirping.

The trap should be set in an open, conspicuous spot, in the neighborhood

where the owls in the night are heard to hoot. The chances are

that the box will contain an owl on the following morning.

This bird is a very interesting and beautiful creature, and if our

young reader could only catch one, and find rats and mice enough

to keep it well fed, he would not only greatly diminish the number

of rats in his neighborhood, but he would realize a great deal

of enjoyment in watching and studying the habits of the bird.

Should it be difficult to supply the above mentioned food, raw

meat will answer equally well. The bird should either be kept in

a cage or inclosure and in the latter case, its wings will require

to be clipped.