TRAPPING PEST BIRDS
Pest and predator control is an integral part of conservation and wildlife management. It is necessary to reduce predation and damage to acceptable levels, particularly at vulnerable times of the year such as the nesting season. It is the responsibility of all those involved in pest and predator control to ensure their methods are legal, humane and carried out with sensitivity and respect for other countryside users.
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Section 5 and the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 Article 12 it is illegal to:
- Set in position any trap which is calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild bird coming into contact with it.
- use as a decoy, for the purpose of killing or taking any wild bird, any sound recording or any live bird or other animal whatever which is tethered, or which is secured by means of braces or other similar appliances, or which is blind, maimed or injured.
Section 8 (1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides that if any person keeps or confines any bird whatever in any cage or receptacle which is not sufficient in height, length or breadth to permit the bird to stretch its wings freely, he shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a special penalty.
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 it is illegal to sell decoy birds.
LARSEN CAGE TRAPS
A 'Larsen cage trap' means a cage trap which has a closed compartment for confining a live decoy bird and a spring activated trap door which is either top or side entry.
The use of this trap is permitted under a general licence issued by the DETR (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions) and allows an authorised person to keep or confine the birds listed in a Larsen cage trap, the dimensions of which do not satisfy the requirements of Section 8 (1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. A similar general licence is also issued by the statutory authorities in Scotland and Wales.
Under the terms of the general licence an 'authorised person is:
- The landowner or occupier (or persons authorised by them) upon their own land.
- A person having written authority issued by local authorities.
- A person having written authority issued by English Nature (or equivalent statutory agencies), regional water boards, river authorities or local fisheries committees.
Individuals are not required to hold a licence personally but failure to comply with the conditions amounts to an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and penalties can be severe.
The terms and conditions of the general licence are:
- Only crow, jackdaw, jay*, magpie and rook may be kept or confined in a Larsen cage trap as a decoy.
- Any bird other than crow, jackdaw, jay*, magpie and rook, which may be caught in the Larsen cage trap, must be released immediately on being found.
- Each Larsen cage trap which contains a live decoy bird must be inspected on at least one occasion in any 24 hour period. Where Larsen cage traps are left in the open but not in use, they must be rendered incapable of holding or catching birds.
- The decoy bird must be provided with adequate food, water, shelter and a perch for the entire period which it is used. The decoy bird must be removed when the trap is not in use.
BASC does not recommend the wing clipping of decoy birds.