THE DARGO INDIAN MYNAH TRAP
Australian design, Australian made wire mesh cage trap.
Indian Myna birds are another feral import into Australia for pest control in crops that went horribly wrong. Not to be confused with the grey Noisy Miner which is a native Australian bird in the honeyeater family and found in eastern and southeastern Australia.
Brown Indian Myna birds are on the top 100 worst of the feral species on the planet. They aggressively smash native birds eggs, drive the adults out of the nest and take over. They gang up on possums in tree hollows and drive them out. If there are other tree hollows they are not using, the Mynas fill them full of twigs and rubbish so that no native animals or birds can live in them. The native animals do not stand a chance when the Myna birds move in to the area which contributes to native species extinction.
Mynas keep coming back to the same nesting location each year. Trap and dispose of Myna birds - never let an invasive and destructive feral go alive to breed up. After despatching them, turn Mynas into useful compost by burying them in the garden.
The Dargo is specifically made to catch the devious and smart Myna birds. Trap the first lot over however many days until there are none left to trap. Put the trap away for a while and bring it back out when they make a comeback. If you catch an unintended species, not likely but not impossible, simply open the hinged lid and let it out alive. It is easier to trap Mynas than it is writing about how to trap them. This is the process to outsmart Mynas:
STAGE ONE - EDUCATE THE MYNAS
Clear up any left-over pet food laying around the yard that attracts Mynas, and other vermin, notably rats and mice, before setting the trap.
Remove the smaller cage from inside the bigger cage by first undoing the clip on the top hinged lid. Don't lose the clip.
Place the two parts of the trap side-by-side, ideally in the shade and where kids and dogs will not bother them. If the weather is extreme or there is no trap protection, one option is to tie-wire a bit of corrugated iron or some other trap cover to four star pickets to make a weather-shielding roof above the set trap. The happier the Myna birds are inside the trap, the more the others are going to head in to the trap.
Place the smaller cage with its open side facing out for full access by Mynas. Put dried dog or cat food in a small bowl and add a separate bowl of drinking water towards the back. Or use plastic budgie feeder bowls from the two dollar shop that hook low onto the walls of the trap. Avoid using fresh meat as bait as it attracts blowflies. Drop a sparse trail of food in a short line outside the trap to give the Mynas a food trail to see, smell and follow. Put the main amount of food in the bowl to give them reason to come and go inside the trap. Be generous with the amount of food. If it runs out, there is no reason for them to come in to the trap. The Mynas then associate this trap with an easy free feed and drink and lead others in.
Keep the food and water supply up in the trap each day. Mynas also get used to seeing the same thing in the same place. Keep the free feeding and education going for three days or up to a week. Observe that it is the Mynas who are taking the dried pet food and that it is not a pet.
STAGE TWO - SET THE TRAP!
Move all the food and water into the larger cage, opposite its vertical entrance. Gently bend the metal spikes in to the centre of the entry of both cage entry gates to almost touching so that the Mynas cannot escape back out through this spiky one-way entrance. Mynas are pushy enough to push past these spikes when heading in to get to their food. Turn the smaller cage's open side into the larger cage and align it with the vertical entrance on the larger cage. This is so that the Mynas enter the first doorway through the lower cage, then climb up through the one-way entrance into the larger cage with their very pushy nature to access the only food and water available, now all in the larger cage.
Attach the two clips on the smaller cage to the larger cage to make it a single unit. Sit a rock or brick on the floor through the hinged roof of the larger cage so that the trap will not move around or fall over in the wind. Or anchor the trap to the ground by hammering in some tent pegs. Top up the food and water. Find an old bit of mirror and face it opposite the entrance because Myna birds like to see more of themselves. Or make another purchase at the two dollar shop for mirrors placed opposite the entrances where they can see themself inside the trap. This helps encourage them inside. Close the roof and lock it with the clip. Place a stick through both sides of the larger cage about two thirds of the way up the walls to make a horizontal perch for trapped birds to sit on.
At the end of the day, inspect the trap for Myna catches. This trap is designed to hold groups.
One humane way to kill feral birds is to detach the smaller cage and place the larger cage with the Mynas in it inside a large garbag or wheelie bin liner. Cut a 20 mm slit in the base of the bag to prevent an extreme build up of gasses. Attach a garden hose to the top of this bag with tape and seal it off with the trap inside. Attach the other end of the hose to the exhaust pipe of a petrol motor. A cold motor has more toxic fumes than a hot motor. Diesel fumes are no good for this purpose. Turn the vehicle ignition on and run the motor for a few minutes so that the exhaust gasses fill the bag. Turn the motor off and let the bag sit there for a few more minutes. The toxic fumes send the birds to sleep and they never wake up, same as euthanasia at the vets. It is painless for the birds. Re-use this bag for the next catch. By now, you are an expert Myna bird trapper.
A second humane method of despatch is to quickly wring the neck of the live birds. This is probably best done after dark so the other mynas hanging around outside the trap cannot see what is happening. Not everyone is up to this but for those who are, wear long gloves before handling them as wild feral birds are probably lice and parasite infested. Welders long leather gloves are good for this. Plus the wild birds will want to attack your hands and arms. Reaching inside the cage to grab one Myna from a group of live birds one at a time can be tricky, without letting the others escape. Be quick to close the lid. A fast 180 degree twisting snap of the neck is required. You can't be half-hearted with this method. Or as others have done with sick chooks, put the Myna's head over the wood-pile chopping block and use the kindling hatchet on their neck with one swift and accurate blow.
Deal with the trapped Myna birds at the end of each day and then set the trap for the next day's catch. If they wake up inside the trap at sunrise, they communicate with the other Mynas outside the trap and warn them off. You will then need to re-start your education stage in another location.