Heligoland Trap

Friday, March 24th 2023

The Heligoland trap at Foxglove is a large, funnel-shaped structure used to catch birds for ringing. The name is taken from the German island of Heligoland where the first trap of its kind was developed as a way of monitoring bird populations and migration. Over recent years, the Foxglove trap has become increasingly overgrown with large trees poking through the mesh roof and ivy covering the wooden structure. 

Earlier in the winter, tree surgeons from Yorkshire Tree Specialists skillfully pollarded in front of the trap revealing the true scale of the structure. It is huge!

The work by the tree surgeons resulted in a huge mess to be cleared up.

Staff and volunteers worked hard to clear the brash and built several log piles. These will provide important habitat for a range of wildlife, including invertebrates and amphibians.

The inside of the trap was also pollarded and a second tidy up operation began!

Even the cold snowy weather didn't put the volunteers off.

After a massive effort, all the brash was cleared ready for the spring. The extra light reaching the ground will benefit wildflowers and we can't wait to see how it looks in a few months time. 

With the habitat work complete, the next task is to work on the structure itself and ensure that it is safe before any bird ringing takes place. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this project so far!


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