Stone-crush traps - one of the oldest methods to catch and kill wild birds.
Probably one of the oldest bird trapping methods is the stone-crush trap. It consists of a stone slab weighing about 3 to 10 kilograms, which is set up with a construction of small sticks and baited with fresh berries. Birds that attempt to eat the berries touch the sticks and are buried under the falling stone. Many animals are not killed immediately, but bleed to death, suffocate or die of thirst.
Stone-crush traps were once widespread across the whole of Europe, today they can only really be found in the French central massif (where they are still used today from a legal derogation from the french government), in northern Italy and Apulia.
Unlike in France, where the traps are only used in juniper heaths, they are found in oak forests in the mountains between Lombardy and Liguria. The main prey are song thrush and fieldfare, but also robins and finches are often killed under the heavy stone slabs.
During our operations in the region, the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) and the Provincial Police of Pavia have found very few active stone trapping sites in recent years. Thankfully, the tradition here seems to be on the verge of extinction.