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1 December 2004 Incidental captures of birds in small-mammal traps: a cautionary note for interdisciplinary studies
David L. Waldien, Miranda M. Cooley, Jennifer Weikel, John P. Hayes, Chris C. Maguire, Tom Manning, Thomas J. Maier
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Abstract

Although benefits of interdisciplinary studies are numerous, potential exists for data acquisition for some aspects of such studies to impact data acquisition for other aspects. This may be particularly true in studies involving both trapping of small mammals and assessment of bird populations. We summarize the incidence of birds captured during 8 research projects in Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington that used 5 types of small-mammal traps, and discuss possible impacts of small-mammal trapping on bird surveys and possible mitigation measures. In these studies, 867 birds representing 17 species were captured in 703,138 total trap-nights (TN). The song sparrow (Melospiza melodia), spotted towhee (Pipilo maculatus), Steller’s jay (Cyanocitta stelleri), and gray jay (Perisoreus canadensis) accounted for 86% of all bird captures; ground-foraging species accounted for 54% of all bird captures. Relatively high capture rates were observed in Sherman (H. B. Sherman Traps, Inc., Tallahassee, Flor.) and Tomahawk traps (Tomahawk Live Trap Co., Tomahawk, Wisc.) (4.1 and 9.8 birds/1,000 TN, respectively) in study 1, whereas pitfall and Ugglan (Grahnab, Ekhaga Marieholm, Hillerstorp, Sweden) traps had negligible captures (<0.1 and 0.0 birds/1,000 TN, respectively) in 4 studies that used them. On 11 occasions capture rates in 1 stand on 1 day in study 1 ranged from 50.0–100.0 birds/1,000 TN. Despite relatively high capture rates of birds in Tomahawk and Sherman traps in 2 studies, the 6 other studies had limited avian captures in both these and all other trap types used. Variability in avian capture rates within trap types across studies makes it difficult to predict the time of year when and habitats where avian captures could occur. Therefore, researchers should be mindful of potential negative impacts of small-mammal trapping on avian aspects of research when designing interdisciplinary studies that include both avian and small-mammal components conducted simultaneously at the same sites.

David L. Waldien, Miranda M. Cooley, Jennifer Weikel, John P. Hayes, Chris C. Maguire, Tom Manning, and Thomas J. Maier "Incidental captures of birds in small-mammal traps: a cautionary note for interdisciplinary studies," Wildlife Society Bulletin 32(4), 1260-1268, (1 December 2004). https://doi.org/10.2193/0091-7648(2004)032[1260:ICOBIS]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 December 2004
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KEYWORDS
birds
incidental captures
interdisciplinary studies
mortality
nontarget captures
small-mammal trapping
small-mammal traps
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