U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

May 1998


Published in Colonial Waterbirds 21 (2): 258-260, 1998.


We describe two techniques for capturing American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias), and other large wading birds in aquatic habitats. One technique involved using #3 padded jaw leghold traps modified by replacing both factory coil springs with weaker #1.5 coil springs, to reduce the closing force of the jaws, and replacing the factory chain with a length of aircraft cable and an elastic shock cord, to minimize injury caused by lunging. The second technique involved using a modified portable rocket net that can be set in shallow water. We captured 142 American White Pelicans and 23 Great Blue Herons using these two techniques. We describe situations best suited for the optimum use of each technique. Both methods are humane and cost, labor, and time efficient.