Capture efficiency and injury rates of band-tailed pigeons using whoosh nets

Wilson Journal of Ornithology



Catching ground feeding birds has typically been accomplished through small, walk-in funnel-style traps. This approach is limited because it requires a bird to find its way into the trap, is biased toward less wary birds, and does not allow targeted trapping of individual birds. As part of a large study on Band-tailed Pigeons (Patagioenas fasciata) in New Mexico, we needed a trapping method that would allow more control over the number of birds we could trap at one time, when a trap was deployed, and target trapping of specific individuals. We adopted a relatively novel trapping technique used primarily for shorebirds, whoosh nets, to trap Band-tailed Pigeons at 3 different sites where birds were being fed by local landowners. During 2013–2015, whoosh nets were used to trap 702 Band-tailed Pigeons at 3 different locations in New Mexico. We captured 12.54 ± 8.19 pigeons per shot over 56 capture events across 3 locations (range: 2–39). Some superficial injuries occurred using this technique and typically involved damage to the primary and secondary wing coverts. In 2013, 24% of captured birds had an injury of this nature, but after modifying the net speed, injury rates in 2014 and 2015 dropped to 8% and 7%, respectively. Recaptured previously injured birds showed new feather growth within 2 weeks and showed no signs of injury after 4 weeks. Whoosh nets proved to be a highly effective solution for trapping large numbers of pigeons at baited sites. These systems are easily transported, quickly deployed, and easily adapted to a variety of site conditions. 

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Capture efficiency and injury rates of band-tailed pigeons using whoosh nets
Series title Wilson Journal of Ornithology
DOI 10.1676/16-069.1
Volume 130
Issue 1
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher The Wilson Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 6 p.
First page 321
Last page 326
Country United States
State New Mexico
City Los Alamos, Silver City, Weed