US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in J. Field Ornithol. (2003) 74(4):401-405.


Development of effective trapping techniques is important for conservation efforts, as marking and subsequent monitoring of individuals is necessary to obtain accurate estimates of demography, movements, and habitat use. We describe a leg-hold noose-mat trap for capturing breeding and nonbreeding shorebirds. Using this method, we trapped 50 Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus), 2258 Snowy Plovers (C. alexandrinus), 38 Killdeers (C. vociferus), and 64 Dunlins (Calidris alpina) in the western and southern United States. The trap was lightweight, making it easy to transport and set up. It was effective on unvegetated substrates at both coastal and inland sites and could be modified for a variety of habitats. Furthermore, this trap allowed researchers to target specific groups of birds including territorial individuals. Easy removal of birds from traps minimized handling time, stress, and injury.