How to Catch Birds With Homemade Traps Without Killing Them

Birds can become a nuisance to homeowners if they eat seeds and buds from the garden or if they make excessive noise or mess. There are many ways to trap birds but some traps have can injure or even kill the birds that are caught. If you want to rid your yard of pesky birds without harming them and without having to invest in costly commercial traps, consider making your own homemade bird traps.

Dig a hole in the ground with a small shovel in a location where birds have been seen congregating. The hole should be about 6 inches wide and 12 inches deep.

Cover the bottom of the hole with seed or dried corn and sprinkle a small amount of seed around the hole to attract birds to it.

Watch the trap and carefully remove any birds that get caught as soon as possible. Birds will be attracted to the trap by the seed and once they eat all the seed around the hole they will try to get the seed at the bottom. When leaning down to eat the seed in the hole, the bird will fall in and the width of the hole will not permit it to open its wings wide enough to fly out.

Cut the tip off a plastic funnel using tin snips or a pair of heavy duty scissors. The ideal size for the opening at the end of the funnel is 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter.

Trace the wide end of the funnel on the outside of a cardboard shoebox. Then trace a smaller circle inside the first circle. The smaller circle should only be about 1/2 inch smaller than the diameter of the funnel. Cut out the smaller circle and insert the funnel with the smaller end going into the box. Decreasing the size of the opening will keep the funnel from slipping into the box.

Secure the funnel to the plastic box with a few pieces of tape and place the box outside in a location where the birds you want to trap have been seen feeding.

Sprinkle a little bit of seed around the box and make a trail through the funnel and into the box itself. Make a small pile of seed inside the box to act as bait for the birds. When birds follow the trail of seed into the funnel they will push through the small opening into the box and will be unable to get back out.

Check the trap periodically throughout the day and remove any trapped birds as soon as possible. Place a small dish of water inside the trap to keep trapped birds from dehydrating and avoid placing the trap in direct sunlight.


For greater success in trapping birds, sprinkle seed around the area in which you plan to set the trap for several days prior to setting it. This will lure birds to the area and they will get used to feeding there. Once the trap is set, it should not be long before the first bird is caught.

Things You'll Need

  • Small shovel
  • Bird seed
  • Plastic funnel
  • Cardboard shoebox
  • Tin snips or heavy duty scissors
  • Tape
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About the Author

Katherine Barrington has written on a variety of topics, from arts and crafts to pets, health and do-it-yourself projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing concentration from Marietta College.