Birds eating sentinel trap bait

I’ve been successfully using sentinel traps to catch possums but recently birds have learnt how to eat the bait possum dough. I’ve moved the trap but I think my bird population just laughs and follows the traps. Any suggestions?

A piece of apple with a coating of cinnamon might work. The possums here are fans of the combo, and I’ve never seen any evidence of bird activity. The cinnamon retards mould growth, and makes the apple last longer, because it takes longer to dehydrate.

I’ve trapped a number of possums with old pieces of wrinkled apple in them that I couldn’t believe that they would find attractive, but it makes sense, because the sugars will have concentrated, and they may also like the smell of it fermenting.

It’s possible that rodents aren’t cinnamon fans, because I’ve never found nibbled bait (even in winter). Cinnamon is reputed to be a rodent repellent, but that might be a myth. Cinnamon has a strong smell, so rodents might find it overpowering. I haven’t found insect or invertebrate damage, either.

Apparently, making a blaze that contains some cinnamon can be effective, but I haven’t tried this, yet.

If this does the trick, you’ll also save some dough on the dough! Good luck!

Thanks I’ll try this. I’ve just had a look at my camera and it looks like its mice not birds taking the possum dough so might try a few mice traps on the tree next to the traps

Possums are big fans of cinnamon, so a light dusting of it on top of the dough is highly unlikely to put them off.
I’d love to know how the mice would respond to the addition of cinnamon to the dough. Have I just been lucky with rodents not eating my apple and cinnamon possum bait, or does it actually help to keep them away?

Good luck trapping the mice.

We have the same problem. Apple coated in cinnamon bait keeps disappearing from Tims traps. We have observed nibble marks on some bait but over half is completely gone in a week. I think it is a combination of both birds(thrush, blackbirds, silvereye, finches) and mice which I am not sure we can do much about. We caught a blackbird in one trap. I have had some success using citrus, half a orange but overall not catching much. I am hopeful it is because we have made a dent in the possum population.

I’ve never used it, but curry powder is one scent lure that can be applied to bait to attract possums. It’s possible that rodents will dislike the intense smell of curry powder, especially the strong stuff, and peppermint oil is reputed to repel rodents. After a while, rodents should get used to the smell of both lures, however.

Apparently lemon skin/rinds can work well in Timms. Possums don’t like lemon flesh, but they do like the skin. The good thing about this technique, is that I doubt that anything but possums will have any interest in lemon rinds. In summer, rinds dry out quickly, becoming like leather. Being dehydrated will concentrate their smell and flavour, and they’d be much harder for a possum to disturb with its paws, because it will have dried on to the skewer. The only way that a possum could tell if the rinds have a nice texture, would be to go in for a taste-test. If you can find a good supply of lemons that are easy to peel, it might be worth a try. If you have possums visiting your traps frequently, you could leave the traps empty and scatter some rinds as a prefeed, or attach some to a nearby tree.

It can’t hurt to experiment. Good luck!

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