Re: Bird trap on Aliso and Wood Canyon Trail

Tom Benson


The trap is for Brown-headed Cowbirds (probably what you saw), which are a brood parasite on a number of species, but particularly on the endangered Least Bell's Vireo. The traps are meant to reduce the cowbirds in areas where vireos breed, and they have been incredibly successful in the recovery of the vireos in southern California.

Tom Benson
San Bernardino, CA

-----Original Message-----
From: Alex Tolkachev <atolkachev@...>
To: OrangeCountyBirding <>
Sent: Tue, May 7, 2019 4:26 pm
Subject: [OrangeCountyBirding] Bird trap on Aliso and Wood Canyon Trail

There is a large bird trap operated, I assume, by OC Parks not far from the creek crossing where the dirt trail and paved trail originating at Awma Road and running on opposite sides of the creek meet. Today, it was inhabited by about six Brewer's Blackbirds (unless I am mistaken; I did take photos just in case). There is food and water inside. I started reading the sign, but the birds were getting agitated by my proximity, so I only gave it a very cursory reading before stepping back. I gathered from the sign that the purpose of the trap is to help endangered species breed more successfully, that the trap is checked daily, and that the public is asked in the strongest terms not to mess with it.

Does anyone know the details of this operation and can anyone explain to me what this trap is all about? I don't believe it is meant for blackbirds, they must have just chanced in. In fact, it is probably not targeted at any one bird? The rangers/ornithologists probably want to see who all get in and take it from there? Or maybe it IS intended for blackbirds in the sense that they are the ones bothering the endangered species, and therefore need to be removed? They will be treated humanely, the sign says, but I don't know what that means. Euthanized humanely? Relocated? Banded, checked and released? 

Next time I am there, if the trap is empty, I will read the sign fully. Until then, I am really curious about what others know and think about this trap. Are there many of these around?
Alex Tolkachev, Irvine

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