DRST incident overnight

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      This morning I noticed the DRST was overturned, and the decoy HOSP was gone. (The trap was covered with a large trash bag, and secured with a bungee cord.) I don’t see any damage to the trap, and I’m wondering what happened?

      My best guess is a neighborhood critter heard the HOSP inside, and flipped the trap upside down, and somehow grabbed the HOSP. But I have no idea how he did it. The round portal (with the flap inside) was locked from the outside. There’s no apparent damage anywhere else.

      A mystery! Anyone else ever have an experience like this? I’ll take a closer look at the DRST today, and see if there are any gaps in the wire mesh, etc…..


        Sounds like a raccoon. But it could have been any wild animal I guess. I’ve never had it happen personally but I’ve heard of it plenty of times. I have had my trap smashed a little from a nighttime visitor. If it tipped over the wire flap that goes into the holding area would be open and the house sparrow could escape. I’ve had them lift that up and escape that’s way.
        I just heard someone on FB say that something pulled a house sparrow out of their trap. The decoy was gone and there were feathers all over.

        • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by tamsea.



          That’s so interesting! I wasn’t ever expecting this to happen. It will add another chore to my daily round, but I think I’ll store the trap in a shed overnight (especially if there’s a decoy inside). No doubt, whoever “visited” us last night will be back again tonight.


            I’ve read reports where people came out in the morning and had a snake curled up in their trap with no decoys in sight! I pray I never deal with that! I cover mine with a tarp at night but I weigh it down with boards and big stones. We have foxes that come thru and an assortment of feral cats, coyotes and the regular riffraff (raccoons, possums). I just don’t want to scare those decoys to death. That’s one reason I am slow to put the trap out these days. It’s a chore to cover and uncover each day—and that’s another chore in an already crazy busy season!

            I’m sorry that happened to you. Have you been catching any?


              Hi Julie, I know what you mean.

              I just want to leave the trap out, and collect a few HOSP every day, and go about my life….but that’s not how it seems to work, lol.

              It’s been slow. The HOSP are eating the millet that I scatter on top of the DRST, and on the outside perch, but not venturing into the elevator. Although, last Sunday we got home from church and found 4 (!) HOSP in the trap. Woo-hoo! That was great to see.

              The covering and uncovering, or dragging back and forth from the shed, is just another chore. But it’s wonderful to see the BB population increasing; we’ve gone from just a pair, to at least five now.

              Something tells me I could be doing a better job with trap placement and baiting, but I don’t know what else to try.


                Stebet, coming home to find 4 sparrows in the trap is a never-forget moment!! Wow. That had to boost your spirits. Your last mention about doing a better job with trap placement…I have to say that every single thing I read about using the DRST said to put it on a table. Guess what? I don’t have a table I can use! I tried it for a bit on this little patio table, but it blocked the stairs to the backyard and got seed all over the walkway, which found its way inside the house…ugh. And I kept catching other native birds, not HOSP.

                So I just prayed about it and felt to put it on the ground in the veg garden. It was near the sparrow hang-out hedge, and it’s not visible from the street, so I gave it a shot. Then I saw someone on here use cardboard under their trap, and I adopted that method. Bit by bit my strategy was born. You’ll figure out what works for your situation. Trial and error is a good teacher!

                And it’s great that you’re increasing the bluebirds where you are. Best part of all!!


                  Hi Julie, our DRST is sitting on an old tire, so it’s only a foot or so off the ground. I know, everyone says to use a table, but it doesn’t seem practical to me. I think (and hope!) that the location matters more than the elevation.

                  So do you feel like your HOSP situation is under control, and therefore you’re not leaving the trap out as much?

                  Part of me feels like one HOSP is too many, but I know I need to be realistic about the numbers I will catch. Unfortunately they will always be around. I just wish they would learn a song or two. And act a little nicer. But then they wouldn’t be HOSP…..


                    Stebet, putting the trap on a tire is a great idea! But as I thot about that, I seem to recall reading somewhere that it’s best for the trap to have a bottom that the birds can see. Maybe I’m making that up, and I’ll try to dig out my directions to confirm, but maybe if you put a board under it that might up your game. If you have it on a board, oh well. So much for that brainstorm!

                    I am at the point of the midsummer influx of newly hatched HOSP. When I put the trap out this time of year, I’ll catch a few, and that’s great, but I like to wait until July, when the blueberry crop is in (I sit the trap in the row beside the blueberries). I’m not wanting it near something I’m picking for us to eat!

                    Mostly now I trap them in the nestboxes with the Van Ert. But I do usually put out the DRST once or twice in summer, then again in fall. It depends on my work schedule. Last year was the 2nd time I’ve put it out for nearly 2 weeks and caught nothing. So maybe the HOSP problem here is more under control. Who knows? I saw one today on the birdbath and my husband rushed out to scare it off! We’re all in on the action here!


                      Hi Julie, I did place some cardboard underneath the DRST, so I think it’s just overall kind of slow right now.
                      Everyone on this site seems to be really keen on the Van Ert…..I need to look into that!

                      And yes, maybe things are more under control here than I realize. We were downtown yesterday, and we both noticed how the HOSP were everywhere. So perhaps we are making a positive difference out here on our little patch of land. :-)

                      Since we bought the DRST and stopped putting out the tube feeders (we only have a finch feeder outside now, and the meal worms for the BBs), there are noticeably not as many HOSP around (though one is still too many!).

                      Congrats on getting your HOSP success!


                        That’s great! So you ARE making a difference! I meant to say last night about birdfeeders. My HOSP problem hinged on 2 things: 3 neighbors’ birdfeeders filled with that cheap millet-y seed mix (these 3 yards encircle my backyard) AND that arborvitae hedge where they’d hang out between feeder runs. In my yard, the HOSP would hit the caged suet feeder in summer, so when I see them there I let it empty. Happily, 2 of 3 neighbors moved & took their feeders with them! That, combined with heavy trapping for 2 years, knocked down the HOSP #s here. The 3rd neighbor still fills with cheap seed, but HOSP or squirrels wipe it out ASAP after filling, so it’s not an issue.

                        The thing with the Van Ert is that you are dealing with the HOSP claiming nestboxes AND you have to monitor. It’s not a set and forget deal. But I’ve used VanErts in every season, even winter if I notice HOSP hanging out around a box. I’ve waded thru deep snow to set it and it’s got ’em!

                        Congratulations!! Look at all the difference you’ve made this year with HOSP and blues!!! It’s exciting. You’ll enjoy those bluebirds for years to come.


                          Yes, unfortunately we had to take down the suet feeders, as well. I decided to not put out anything (suet, or seeds) that the HOSP would monopolize. I felt bad, because I really wanted to provide for the songbirds, but the HOSP were crowding them out. So I decided it just wasn’t worth it.

                          Really enjoying the BBs, though! We have at least 4 or 5 now……!

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