Damage To Traps – Increased Risk To Ground Nesting Birds

The traps shown on the pictures are Fenn traps which have been set on wood rails, these traps are crucial to gamekeepers in their battle to help protect ground nesting birds.  Unfortunately if you look closely at the pictures you can see that these particular traps have been set off by a member of the public with a piece of heather stick.  Regardless of whether this was done as a silly prank or done with malicious intent the only real damage being done by springing the trap is the increased risk to the ground nesting birds from predators.

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The importance of a good trapping programme is essential in successful moorland management, the 3 main traps that are used are Fenn, Larsen and Multi-Catchers.  The Fenn traps are used to try and catch stoats, weasels, rats and squirrels and these traps have mesh guards attached to them to try and prevent any other non-target animals from entering.  The Larsen and Multi-Catcher traps are used to try and catch Crows, Magpies, Rooks, Jackdaws and Jays as these are the birds that would normally suck the eggs, the pictures below show grouse and pheasant eggs that have been targeted.  The sucking of eggs is a real problem at nesting time and the lapwing, ring ouzel and curlew nests are much less concealed than the grouse nests so they are quite often easier targets.

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Trapping for predators is a vital job that a gamekeeper does and this is why it is so disappointing when traps are tampered with as this increases the risk of decline to the moorland bird population.  The overall numbers of all ground nesting birds not just the grouse would suffer if the gamekeepers were prevented from setting traps to catch predators, this job is done to protect all ground nesting birds on the moors and ensure their survival.