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How to Build a Robin Trap

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Bread crumbs

  • Cardboard box without the lid

  • Brown paper sacks

  • Y-shaped branch, 5 inches long

  • Fishing line, 15 feet

Birds are a delight to watch in nature, but you must be clever to trap one. Robins are the ideal type to learn how to trap because they are well adjusted to suburban life. This makes them easy to lure into your trap. The bait to use is a handful of bread crumbs. Start feeding them on a regular basis, for a week or two, so they are accustomed to visiting your yard for a meal. The closer to the area where the trap will go the better. This is a great activity to teach kids about catch and release.

A Cardboard Box Trap

i Open box image by oddech from Fotolia.com

Prepare the box. Use any rectangular box without a lid. Xerox boxes work are ideal. If it is not brown, glue brown paper sack to the outside to cover up the color. Place it outside, open end down, in the area where the trap will be. Spread bread crumbs around the box. Keep putting a handful of bread crumbs around the box for five days.

i tree shadow image by Adrian Hillman from Fotolia.com

Find a thin Y-shaped branch from a backyard tree. Bust it off to 5 inches.

i fishing reel image by Brett Mulcahy from Fotolia.com

Wrap one end of the fishing wire securely near the top of the Y-shaped branch. Make certain that a quick tug on the fishing wire will not pull it off. Place the thin Y-shaped branch, pointed side down, 1 inch in the dirt in front of the box. Position it, so it will be midway the distance of the width of the box. Leave it there for the five days you are sprinkling bread crumbs.

i scales image by dinostock from Fotolia.com

Raise the box, on the sixth day, at the width end closest to the Y-shaped branch. Balance that end at the intersection of the Y-shaped branch. Shift the box if is not resting perfectly on the “Y." Check that the opposite end of the box is flat against the ground.

i bread image by .shock from Fotolia.com

Sprinkle a handful of bread crumbs around the box, and include a handful for inside the box. Take the untied end of the fishing wire, and walk away. Hide behind a tree or door, and observe the robins as they are feeding.

Yank the fishing wire when a robin goes under the box to eat the bread crumbs. This will bring down the edge of the box trapping the bird inside.


  • Reset your trap if you were not quick enough to capture the bird. Robins like meal worms and fruit. You can mix raisins or dried apricots into the bait mixture.


  • Wild birds carry mites. Wild birds can carry diseases. Wild birds are better left in nature.