BluebirdersBluebirder Floyd Van Ert (1934-2017)

Bluebirder Floyd Van Ert (1934-2017)

QUICK TIP: Floyd Van Ert invented the fabulous Van Ert House Sparrow trap and more.

Floyd Van Ert - from his facebook page, photo by Tami Van Ert
Floyd Van Ert, photo by Tami Van Ert from 2009, his Facebook Page. His wife Marty embroidered the bluebird on his shirt (which was, of course, blue.)

Floyd Van Ert passed away peacefully at home in Elgin, Nebraska, at the age of 83. Floyd was a farmer, Army veteran, dancer, businessman and family man.  He was also a bluebirding hero.

Floyd invented the Van Ert Universal Sparrow Trap to deal with that nemesis of native cavity nesting birds – “those pesky house sparrows.”  From 2000 to 2012, he handmade over 20,000 traps. His simple, inexpensive live trap works on any style bluebird nestbox.  Later on, Floyd created variations for kestrel, wood duck and PVC boxes, and also came up with unique nestbox mounting bracket designs.

Floyd never patented his inbox trap design.  Some have imitated it, but in my opinion, his is still the best. I’ve caught house sparrows within a minute or two of setting it, and never hit the trail without several in my bag.

Like most bluebirders, Floyd was little bit crazy and somewhat ornery.  But he sure was fun, and he loved bluebirds. He also thought ahead. In 2012, he trained Aaron Perkins to take over product manufacturing. Floyd’s original design is still available at, and is always sent with a warning about the importance of frequent monitoring when trapping.  His clever invention has saved countless bluebird lives. Even though he’s gone, he continues to help us fill the skies with blue.

~ By Bet Zimmerman Smith


Floyd Eldon Van Ert, age 83, of Leon, Iowa, the son of Louis Anthony and Bernadine Elizabeth (Schumacher) Van Ert, was born March 11, 1934, in Elgin, Nebraska. He died at his home on Saturday, June 3, 2017.

Floyd grew up and attended school in rural Nebraska. He worked on the family farm before being drafted into the United States Army in 1956. He served 18 months of his two-year term in Germany. Upon his honorable discharge he moved to Sioux City, Iowa and trained under his older brother to be a glazer in his glass business. Floyd then moved to Atlantic, Iowa where he owned and operated Van Ert Glass. He had a good business installing windows in schools, hospitals, and storefronts for nearly 40 years and was very proud of his work.

He married Dorothy Kint; they were blessed with three children, Jeff, Gary, and June. Later he married Deborah Peppers. He adopted her two sons, Al and Aaron, in addition to being blessed with their own daughter, Abby. After his retirement in January of 1996, Floyd met Martha Sue Raiser. They were married on May 24, 1997. Her sons, Robert and William, became a part of his family, too. The couple first lived in Carson, Iowa before moving to Leon in 2005.

Floyd was very handy and invented a sparrow trap that goes inside Blue Bird houses. He hand made over 20,000 of them through Van Ert Enterprises. He recently passed the business to Aaron and Raven Perkins. Floyd was a member of the Iowa Blue Bird Organization and practiced wildlife conservation.

Preceding him in death were his parents; siblings, Phila Mae Dredge, Mildred Zessin, Irvin Van Ert, Leonard Van Ert, and an infant brother; and great grandson, Camden Van Ert. Survivors include his wife, Martha Raiser of Leon; children, Jeff & Penni Van Ert of Atlantic, Iowa, Gary & Jennifer Van Ert of Griswald, Iowa, June & Tom Curthis of Clinton, Iowa, Al & Bryce Van Ert of Cedar Park, Texas, Aaron & Jade Van Ert of Holly Springs, North Carolina, and Abby Van Ert of Des Moines, Iowa; stepsons, Robert & Sara Mitchell of Mesa, Arizona and William & Aubrey Mitchell of Anderson, South Carolina; 15 grandchildren; six great grandchildren; sisters, Mary Lou Hummel of Cave Creek, Arizona, Barbara Jean Furley of Branson, Missouri, and Norma & Lyle Schwarting of Lincoln, Nebraska; sister-in-law, Mary Van Ert of North Platte, Nebraska; many nieces and nephews; and other relatives and friends.

Funeral services will be held at the St. Brendan’s Catholic Church in Leon, Iowa at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 7, 2017, with Father Felix Onuora and Deacon Reiny Kunze officiating. Burial will be in the Iowa Veterans Cemetery at Van Meter, Iowa on Thursday, June 8. A Rosary will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6, at the Slade – O’Donnell Funeral Home in Leon, Iowa. The family will receive friends 6:30-8 p.m. on Tuesday.

If it is to be, it is up to me.
– Robert Schuller


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