Bird trapping with nets
Nets are a method used worldwide to catch birds. They are the preferred trapping method, especially to catch live birds - to use them as decoys or as captive 'pet' birds. Like traps, they are banned in most countries for a good reason: nets catch birds indiscriminately and in large quantities.
Mist nets are placed vertically on poles. They are usually hidden in forest rides or bushes. Unlike clap nets, they do not require manned supervision; they are usually inspected once or twice a day. Mist nets are mainly used to catch songbirds and are particularly common in Italy and the entire eastern Mediterranean region. Occasionally they can be found in the Spanish mainland, on the Balearic Islands, in France and even in Germany.
Set nets are forbidden everywhere in Europe, only on Mallorca there is a legal derogation for catching thrushes. The "Japan nets" often produced in East Asia have horizontal meshes, the "mirror nets" produced mostly in the Mediterranean region (and much more frequently used) stand out due to diamond-shaped meshes.
Clap nets usually consist of two nets lying horizontally and parallel on the ground, held in tension by set springs. They can be between 10m and 50m long. Between the two nets there is an open area where food or water can often be found or on which live decoy birds are placed, tethered or in cages. A bird trapper hidden in a nearby hide triggers the nets manually when birds gather on the open area. The net will then strike over the birds. In contrast to mist nets, in which birds get caught indiscriminately, the trapper can decide which birds he wants to target and keep. For this reason, there are still special permits issued for catching certain species of birds. It can easily be disputed whether or not this trust in bird trapping is justified.
Clap nets are most commonly found in the western Mediterranean - from Spain, France and southern Italy to Malta. They are used to catch songbirds, waders and Turtle Doves.
Ground nets are laid over vegetation. They are mounted so that quails or other ground dwelling birds scurry under them. With the help of a dog, trappers flush the birds up and lead them to fly into the nets from below. This method is relatively rare, but it is known in Malta, Lebanon and North Africa.