Bird Traps


These traps are set ostensibly to catch corvids (such as crows and magpies) but can just as easily catch raptors (such as buzzards, pegrerine falcons and goshawks). Clam, Larsen and Ladder traps are placed throughout the spring, often on open moorland close to tree cover.

A captive “call bird” is used to draw other birds into the trap. All suffer terrible physical and mental harm, exposed to the elements and unable to hunt, feed their young or return to their mate, until the gamekeeper finally attends to kill them.

The law on use of corvid traps is evolving, following work by Wild Justice. Please follow them for updated information on the legal case on the General Licensing of corvid traps. This has been a protracted legal battle and has raised great awareness of just how many wild birds suffer “casual killing” in the UK.

In May 2023, horrified walkers found a fatally injured crow in a gamekeeper’s trap near Stanage Pole on the Moscar Estate in the Peak District National Park. The walkers called the RSPCA, who attended, but the bird could not be saved. The extent of their injuries illustrates how brutal these traps really are.

In 2020, the Hunt Investigation Team reported an illegally mutilated call bird and a hypothermic fox cub in a Larsen trap on National Trust land (Outseats), also in the Peak District. The Moscar gamekeepers admitted to the RSPCA that they had set these traps, without the landowner’s consent. The misuse of Larsen traps is vastly unreported and causes untold suffering. Monitoring is always needed during the spring/summer months.


  • Please report the accurate location (date, grid ref, location and description) of any bird traps found.
  • Monitor for injured and suffering wildlife. If birds are held captive without food, water or shelter, or if they are injured, they should be protected by the Animal Welfare Act. Document wherever possible and seek immediate veterinary advice/assistance from the RSPCA. Please let us know anything you find.
  • Monitor for signs of illegality: raptor capture, use of carrion as bait, use of any bird other than a corvid as bait, lack of water/food/shelter, lack of regular inspection.
  • Use FOI requests to determine if the landowner has a valid license for corvid traps. There is a high chance they do not.

Here is one example of a Peak District gamekeeper being convicted for using such traps illegally.

See also the excellent group Against Corvid Traps for more info.

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