Trapping Birds

It’s very important to point out that catching 
any wildlife in the UK is STRICTLY LIMITED 
and there are loads of laws
protecting birds and banning your activities.
What follows is general information 
and for illustration only which 
you could use in a pure survival situation.

Duty done, legal bit covered.
You get caught, serve you right.
Poor OPSEC on your part.

Once again, shooting is too labor intensive in a survival situation.

I’m talking gain for effort and remind you that trapping is basically a force multiplier i.e. you set up traps, go back to base, and get on with the important jobs. 

The difference is most birds are caught during the day yet they won’t take to you constantly checking traps. Just leave things alone. 
Set bird traps when you are coming back from your other trap lines, and check them late afternoon before you go out to re-set your animal snares.

Bird Snares are used for anything, large or small. 
As they can’t chew through lines, you can use thin mono-filament line or inner cores from para-cord. 

Typically claw snares are 2″ in diameter and set an inch above the perch. 
If you are after wading or swimming birds, then set 3″ in diameter, same height. Neck snares are typically 3″ in diameter, overlapped. 
Gorges are designed with the “gobbling” type of birds. 
Flock eaters or swooping types i.e. gulls (although gulls don’t make good safe eating as they eat ANYTHING).

Gorges In Use

  1. Split some para-cord down to thin thread or use thin fishing line. Thread a few berries onto the line. Flocking birds will rapidly swallow the food to prevent the other birds from getting to it. Let them eat as much as they can then run towards them. The swallowed line will prevent them from escaping. Grab and dispatch before they can pull the line out of their crops.
  2. Same principle but using small fish hooks at the end of threads baited with berries, maggots, or worm. Bird swallows the hook and cannot escape. CAUTION: the hook will be well embedded in the crop. Be careful when removing it as it will be contaminated with part digested food.

A more proactive type. 
25-35mm long, 4mm thick on a leader of mono-filament.


Using a gorge, bait as shown above and throw out to swooping feeders like gulls. The gull will greedily swallow the gorge. 
When it tries to fly off, the gorge turns sideways and locks in the throat. 
Again, when recovering the gorge, take care as it may be contaminated with partly digested food.
You can of course use fish hooks like gorges.

Don’t forget mouse and rat traps.
Simply put, standard snap rat traps are useful for catching birds.
Bait with offal, berries, worm, or maggots.
They peck, trap snaps, you get a meal.
Only remember to set the traps on a pole as you won’t like mouse or rat.

Line Snares 

Small thin cord snares. 
3-4 inches overlapped on a frame Arrange in a box or triangle formation round scattered seed / berries. The cord must be thin and light. Mono-filament fishing line is ideal for this. Simply a ground “bird table” covered with horizontal thin snares 1-2 ” above the table. Snares are 3″ in diameter.


Flocking birds like partridge or pigeon are a favorite prey for snares. 
They see the food and dive in desperate to eat before their companions.


Perching snares.
Ideal for doves and smaller birds.
Bird lands to feed and gets entangled.

Bird Caps.  

Requires a little thought and preparation. 
You’ll need to collect holly twigs with leaves attached and some thin cardboard or very stiff paper.
Boil the holly in a pot and reduce the liquid down to a thick glue. 
Make paper cones approximately 2″ in diameter Using the bird gum to make the cones. 


Smear a generous layer of gum round the inside top edge. 
Place into the ground and drop corn or other bait round and in the caps. 
The bird pecks the bait and the paper cone gets stuck on its head. 
It will not fly as it cannot see. Note, this one you need to monitor.
Bird caps are definitely ILLEGAL in the UK but at least you can catch the birds and release the ones you DON’T want to eat. 

Other Traps. (Google “Bird Snares”)
There are loads of other trapping methods like the Ojibwa, cage traps, mist nets, etc. Whilst they may be highly effective, they are either too complicated or fiddly to fabricate, or just TOO BIG to hide.

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