How to Catch a Wild Bird in My Backyard

Bill Taylor
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Trapping Methods

For Catching Birds There are many different methods to consider when setting up a wild bird misting system. The first consideration depends on the type of system being used:

In our case, we’re talking about a bird feeder that has a misting option. They’re sold as bird bath feeders, and they’re common compared to yard bird misting system. So when we talk about setting up a bird misting system, we’re talking about one that’s setup like a bird feeder.

The methods you may want to use to catch a wild bird at a misting feeder include:

  • Cover
  • Lid
  • Sleeping Net
  • Bird Netting

The first two methods listed above should be much safer than trying to use bird netting, but they’re also not fool proof.

The idea behind covering the feeder is that if the bird can’t see the water, he/she can’t be lured in. Of course the opposite is also true, so if you cover it completely, the bird might not even be able to find the feeder.

Catching an Injured Wild Bird

My wife and I have a large backyard. At 870 sq ft, it’s about average for a suburban lot. We’ve never had any problems with pest control because we live in the woods, away from any large towns or cities. There is only one problem with our backyard though … birds and squirrels.

Now I know the birds and squirrels have gotta eat, but they were really getting out of control in our backyard. Before we go any further, I definitely recommend against returning sick or injured wild animals to their natural habitat. Keep in mind I’m providing this information purely for educational purposes. You should always seek professional advice if you happen to come across an injured bird or animal in your area.

Catching a Single Bird in a Garden

If you have a few small garden spaces or flowerbeds near one another in a row, consider filling those small spaces with bird mirrors. These are mirrors designed to look like birds that you hang from a simple hook. Since the mirror doesn’t move, it gives birds the impression that they can’t catch it and they’ve gotta try their hardest to be the first one to catch it.

Make Sure the Bird is Actually Injured

Before trying to catch a bird, you should make sure the bird is actually injured. A bird may appear to be injured but really isn’t and is trying to drive you away. In this case, it’s best just to walk away and leave the bird alone.

If the bird is moving rapidly, flapping its wings, or just generally acting distressed, chances are that you should walk away and allow the bird to be. On the other hand, if the bird is sitting still, seems calm, and its feathers are puffed out, it might be injured.

Choose the Right Song

When trying to catch a wild bird, it’s important to remember that their hearing is far greater than our own. In order to catch a wild bird in your backyard, you’ll want to put up a lot of racket to catch their attention. Chirping loudly and making a lot of noise is a great way to draw in a bird sitting in a tree.

Check if the parents are around

Before trying to catch a wild bird, first try and find the parents. If they are around, have them help you. Ask them to bring the kid to the nest or on your fingers. If the parents are not around, continue to the next step.

Observe the Features of the Bird

You would need to take the following into consideration when trapping a free flying wild bird:-

  • Family size
  • Region of the bird
  • Breeding season
  • Sexual maturity
  • Foot size

Preparation for Catching a Wild Bird

To capture a wild bird before, you will need a following tool:

  • lawn chairs
  • twigs
  • buckets
  • towels
  • hats
  • paper towel roll

Trapping a Wild Bird

Let me give you a short demonstration of a successful bird catching trial, where I caught the following wild bird:-

  • mourning doves
  • robins
  • cardinal

Bonus Tips to Catch a Wild Bird

For me, the tip has three significant reasons, which I will go over in detail:-

1 Some state has laws against hunting without a license. You may not be legally allowed to capture wildlife and may violate the law if you’re not careful.

Call a wildlife rehabilitator

If you find an injured baby bird, you may be tempted to try and help it. But it is important that you do not attempt to help it yourself. It is not uncommon for well-meaning humans to try and help injured wild birds, but often this ends up killing the little guy. This is because the human cannot replicate what birds normally do for each other. For that reason, it is best to let a licensed wildlife rehabilitator handle the situation.

If you find an injured bird, take it to a local wildlife rehabilitator. The rehabilitator’s job is to restore the health of the bird while keeping it safe and stress-free. If the bird needs major help, they will be able to access the resources and knowledge they need to provide for the bird’s longterm wellbeing.

Build or Buy a Containment Trap

If you want to try to catch the bird yourself, you will need to build or buy a containment trap. Containment traps will be better suited for catching nighttime birds such as owls, but you will want to build or buy one that is big enough to capture the bird you have in mind.

Put on gloves

And use a ladder to look up into the bush/tree to find the baby bird.

Put a white folded tissue or paper towel on the end of a long stick or rod to capture bird off high perch.

Release bird high in a tree to avoid cats and allow it to fly.

Put in a cage for 2-3 days in a warm room to feed it.

How to Make a Squirrel Feeder

If you are going to use a squirrel feeder, you have to know how to make it efficient. Your food is good and ready for the squirrels to come and get. Before, you place the food in the feeder, there is one crucial thing you should remember.

The food should be placed on a flat surface. Place the food on a flat surface. This makes it easier for your squirrel to eat.

Bend the wire mesh at both ends so that it can rest on the surface.

After bending the edges of the wire mesh, place it on the flat surface where you will put the food.

Most of the squirrel feeders, are designed with an opening for the squirrels to put their tails through. This can lead to a mess, because the squirrels’ tails leave marks on the wire mesh. If you are willing to put the feeder on a flat surface, this can reduce your job.

Get a piece of fabric and approach from behind

If you are interested in capturing a wild bird in your backyard, you will need a way to catch the animal once you’ve caught it and you could use something as common as a cage to keep it in after you’ve caught it. You could try to grab it with your bare hands but if the bird is flapping once it hits the ground, it might just fly away. You could also buy a bird basket which is like a small, cage-like, basket to use to pick up wild birds.

If you still want to catch a wild bird in your backyard but you do not want to buy a cage or a basket, you could try the following method.

First, go to your closest fabric store and get a piece of fabric that is similar to a shirt. The material has to be wide enough to catch the bird. Now, make sure that you are wearing it while catching the bird. It would not be a good idea to leave it on the ground once you’ve caught the bird.

Try to get the bird to land on your outstretched hand so that you can easily get it into the cloth. Once it lands, quickly wrap the fabric around the bird trying not to hurt it.

Gently drape the cloth over the bird and pick it up.

Holding the bird securely in one hand, cut off the strings of the cloth with the scissors in the other hand.

Then, with scissors in one hand and the cloth in the other, take the bird into the house and out of sight.

Put the bird in a large, easy to carry cage.

Gently place the bird inside the cage and leave it alone for a few hours.

When the bird calms down, it will be easier to examine and care for.

Set up the cage in a quiet, calm room so the bird will be comfortable.

Carefully examine the bird to determine what kind it is and what kinds of care it needs.

How to Get Rid of Termites in My Backyard

When it comes to termites, prevention is the key. The possibility of getting termites in your backyard is diminished if you are clear about differences in their life cycle. Most termites are somewhat harmless and you can easily control their population in the absence of your intervention. Even when you encounter a colony of termites, it does not necessarily imply that they are harmful.

Put it somewhere safe

I have to admit that I still have not caught a wild bird in my house. However, I’ve caught plenty of other kinds of animals and I can tell you this; If you’re not careful, you can end up with a mean, injured, or dead animal on your hands. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m just a regular guy. I didn’t go to school studying animals or anything like that.

I think that’s what helped me turn into such an animal lover. I didn’t go to school, so I didn’t learn some of the stuff they teach you in school that can keep you from being a good animal lover. I’m not talking about school as in college, but as in kindergarten; You learn everything about animals when you’re still young.

I just like all animals. I think they are the best thing on earth. I just want to be a part of their world. There are two main reasons why I wanted to catch a bird and let it free back into the wild.

A) I didn’t want to feed it inside. I wanted to catch it, get it out of the cage, and put it right outside.

Call a rehabilitator

The first and easiest thing to do is to contact your local wildlife rehabilitator.

Get a Harp Trap

You can get a harp trap at most home supply stores and many gardening stores.

Catch a Lot of Bird Seed

Make sure you have plenty of birdseed available.

Make a Little Mock Birdhouse

Get a small jar (a one-pint milk carton works) or a small cage of some kind and decorate it. (If you’re concerned about the aesthetics, you can just put it inside a bigger birdhouse.)

Bait the Trap

Just put some of the birdseed down inside the mock birdhouse.

Set the Trap and Get Ready

Cover the bottom of the birdhouse, cage, or jar with a little piece of paper or a napkin. Make sure the paper is a little bigger than the area that the bird will be trying to land.

Catch, Feed, and Release the Animal

Cover the bird feed with the damp paper, and set the trap on its side.

Once you catch the bird, feed him some mealworms (or some other food that he eats) and then release him.

Reload the Trap

Don’t forget to reload the trap with more birdseed!

How to Build a Wilderness Bird Trap

You want to entice natural birds into a birdhouse or feeder. You could hang a piece of seed from a string or erect a feeder and hope that the natural birds will take the bait. However, if you have no idea which birds are natural birds and which are feral pests, you could end up with a birdhouse for uninvited guests… like a raccoon!

A birdhouse designed for natural birds looks completely different than a designed for pests. The trap helped me to travel into the depths of the Amazon to see the tropical birds I collected from my family in the Conservatories of the D.C. Zoo.

I hung the trapline traps near a birdfeeder where I had been hanging sunflower seeds. I was on a quest for the yellow-bellied sapsucker, a bird I enjoyed listening to for hours on end. It was at the feeder one sunny morning that I noticed unusual activity in a nearby tree. The squirrel was behaving strangely as it scurried about collecting sunflower seeds from a birdfeeder. I noticed that there were more seeds than usual ground beneath the feeder. I also had a large flock of birds flitting aimlessly about in a nearby tree.

The Bucket and Cage Method

If you live in an area with squirrels, then I’m sure you’ve seen them run away as a bird flies overhead. Squirrels can’t catch birds like cats can, and birds are smaller and move a lot faster.

Recently, I found some caged birds in my backyard, and I had no idea how they got there. I saw a mother bird inside the cage, and the birds outside the cage were calling out. I don’t have any cats, so I assumed that a human put the birds there. I kept thinking about the poor birds, and I knew I needed to save them.

I called a friend over to help me, and we came up with a plan.

It was very simple. We made two holes in the top of a bucket and covered the top with a blanket. Then, we snuck up on the cage and dropped the bucket over it.

Inside the bucket, the blanket kept the mother and other birds in and the outside birds out. Next, we used heavy duty cable ties to secure the bucket to a tree.

The Cartoon-Box Trap

Here’s a cartoon-inspired trap based on a design that was posted on Reddit. It’s basically just a box with some cartoon characters on it that’s meant to attract your bird with its cuteness.

I realize there’s nothing stopping a real bird from hitting this box and walking off entirely, but it’s at least entertaining. And it’s probably a lot better than just doing nothing.

One way to stop real birds from taking off with the feeder is to put it in a cage, but if your feeder is light enough for a squirrel, chances are a real bird is going to be able to take it. In the end, you’re better off just getting a squirrel feeder.

The Tennis Ball Trap

Here’s another fun one that uses tennis balls to lure the bird. The thinking here is that a hungry bird will see the tennis balls and come investigate.

Then, once the bird is too close to resist, it’s as easy as rolling the second tennis ball towards the tethered ball, which traps the bird. Then you can just collect your new pet bird and bring it home, though it’s probably best to make it a temporary one.


So, those are the five “big” rules to keep in mind when feeding your pet squirrel. The main point is to avoid overfeeding your squirrel. The reason they overeat to the point of regurgitation is because their body is unable to handle the excess fat and calories. If your squirrel is constantly regurgitating, it’s because they are overexerting themselves and it’s harmful to their health.

So, by taking the rules above into consideration, you can feed your squirrel to satiation without pushing it too far. This way, you can assure he has a long, happy life, and you can get that cute, cuddly face in photos whenever you want.