Northern cardinal recovering after getting caught in a glue trap

A northern cardinal was among the 92 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include two indigo buntings, a yellow-billed cuckoo, a common gallinule, a scarlet tanager, a Florida softshell turtle and two marsh rabbits.

The male northern cardinal was admitted to the wildlife hospital after being stuck to a sticky glue board rodent trap. A common grackle, a blue jay and a female cardinal were also recently admitted after becoming stuck to sticky glue rodent traps. All of the birds came from different areas in Naples illustrating the prevalent use of this inhumane, non-species specific method of pest control.

The treatment protocol for removing these birds from sticky glue traps is extensive. All four birds were incredibly agitated and stressed after struggling unsuccessfully to free themselves from the strong adhesive. Staff administered sedatives to calm the birds. Once sedated, a non-toxic soy based product was used to remove the birds from the glue. A full assessment of the injuries caused by the glue showed varying degrees of damage.

The female cardinal and blue jay were so badly injured they did not survive. The male cardinal and the grackle had wing and tail feathers ripped out which left the birds unable to fly; both birds will need several washings to completely remove the soy based product from their feathers. Supportive care at the hospital will be required until all their feathers grow in.

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Glue boards are indiscriminate killers. The injuries animals endure after being stuck on glue board traps are significant and, as was the case with the female cardinal and blue jay, animals may struggle so violently that they can tear their skin, feathers, legs or wings from their bodies. If glue traps go unchecked, an animal stuck to the trap dies slowly from stress, starvation and/or dehydration.

Humane methods of rodent control do exist. Solutions for controlling rodent populations must focus on removal of the cause. Eliminate food sources, securely close trashcans, and never feed pets outside. Seal any holes that may allow rodents entry into your home. Preventative measures and exclusion are the keys to long-term solutions.

Recent Releases

Five eastern cottontails, five mourning doves, a marsh rabbit, a peninsula cooter, a downy woodpecker, six northern mockingbirds, three common grackles, a laughing gull, an osprey, an eastern screech owl, a grey squirrel, a gopher tortoise and four Virginia opossums were released this past week.

Opportunities to Help

There are many ways to remain engaged and support the Conservancy. Become a member, donate and visit our website at Learn about the Conservancy’s work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.

Joanna Fitzgerald is director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, Naples, Florida 34102. Call 239–262–2273 or see

Protecting Southwest Florida's unique natural environment and quality of and forever.

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