Today we have numerous types of live food available to feed our birds. Termites, Meal Worms, Bush Fly Maggots and Crickets to name the more popular ones available. At times even these may not full fill all certain birds requirements.
There is another live food source that is freely available if you have the equipment. They are the numerous Moths and Bugs living in our own back yard. They come in numerous shapes and sizes and the catch generally full fills numerous sized birds.
The unit to catch them is rather simple and can be made by a handy man,
Basically the unit is a UV light, just like what is used in a commercial Bug Catcher. The light is the attracter. Behind the light there is a domestic 300mm kitchen exhaust fan. and on the other side of the fan is a fabric bag with a slightly open weave to allow the air to pass through easily but small enough to hold even the smaller insects. As soon as the insect gets near the light the fan just sucks it into the bag.
Those are the 3 stages but making it is a little more involved.
The fan and light are fitted to a melamine board approx 400mmx 750mm. attached to the board is a base so it will stand on it’s own.
Towards the top a 300mm diam. hole is cut int
Towards the top a 300mm diam. hole is cut into the board and the fan is fitted. In front of the fan the UV lamp is fitted.
I found the circular UV lamp produces better results
Three clips are needed to be fitted to support the lamp.
On the reverse side a water proof box it required to house the ballast and starter required to run the lamp. these parts
are from a cannibalised 20 watt fluo. fitting as well as a short extension lead fitted to get power to the terminal box.
You can also buy a light fitting that will take two screw in UV lamps plus UV lamps which are available from Bunnings type outlets. The fitting doesn’t require a Ballast or Starter that a Fluo requires. Just fit both lamps in front of the fan(as per picture).
I have fitted an electrical switch which is work friendly.
On the reverse side you will find the motor and support frame for the fan. It is advisable to fit a metal skirt the diam. of the fan and extend out approx. 100mm. This makes fitting the muslin type bag to the collar and held by an elastic strap. If you do not use a fixing strap the fan will blow the bag off.
You may think it is a lot of work but once made you will get years of service out of it and my kilos of insects.
You have your unit made now what, just before dark point the light toward some open space turn it on and walk away.
Next morning simply remove the bag and close the top tight before turning the lamp off otherwise numerous will escape.
Once you have your catch how do you feed them out, after collecting the bag the easy way is to just go your aviary and release them, but, most will just escape up through the roof. To slow them down just put them in a refrigerator for a while and they take a couple of minutes to thaw out which gives the birds a better chance of catching them. Better still put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes. They do not recover and are eaten at leisure. The other advantage freezing them is they can be stored in an airtight container and feed out as required. Some nights you may only catch a few insects yet another night you could end up with half a large ice cream container full.
When fed out you will see different species eating particular insects and also pick a size that they prefer.
In conclusion going by the way my birds attack them there must be something of value for them to go to so much effort. I have watched Weavers take a moth and eat all but the wings and other birds simply walk through the insects picking what they want.
It is very much worth the effort.