This substance so called to which we have above alluded, and which
is sold in our bird marts under that name, is a viscid, sticky
preparation, closely resembling a very thick and gummy varnish.
It is astonishingly sticky, and the slightest quantity between
the fingers will hold them together with remarkable tenacity. What
its effect must be on the feathers of a bird can easily be imagined.
This preparation is put up in boxes of different sizes, and may
be had from any of the taxidermists or bird-fanciers in any of
our large towns or cities. Should a home made article be required,
an excellent substitute may be prepared from the inner bark of the
slippery elm. This should be gathered in the spring or early
summer, cut into very small pieces or scraped into threads, and
boiled in water sufficient to cover them until the pieces are soft
and easily mashed. By this time the water will be pretty much boiled
down, and the whole mass should then be poured into a mortar and
beaten up, adding at the same time a few grains of wheat. When
done, the paste thus made may be put into an earthen vessel and
kept. When required to be used, it should be melted or softened
over the fire, adding goose grease or linseed oil, instead of water.
When of the proper consistency it may be spread upon sticks or
twigs prepared for it, and which should afterwards be placed in
the locality selected for the capture of the birds.
An excellent bird-lime may be made also from plain linseed-oil,
by boiling it down until it becomes thick and gummy. Thick varnish
either plain or mixed with oil, but always free from alcohol, also
answers the purpose very well. The limed twigs may be either set
in trees or placed on poles and stuck in the ground.
If any of our readers chance to become possessed of an owl, they
may look forward to grand success with their limed twigs. It is a
well known fact in natural history that the owl is the universal
enemy of nearly all our smaller birds. And when, as often happens,
a swarm of various birds are seen flying frantically from limb to
limb, seeming to centre on a particular tree, and filling the air
with their loud chirping, it may be safely concluded that some sleepy
owl has been surprised in his day-dozing, and is being severely
pecked and punished for his nightly depredations.
Profiting from this fact, the bird catcher often utilizes the owl
with great success. Fastening the bird in the crotch of some tree,
he adjusts the limed twigs on an sides, even covering the neighboring
branches with the gummy substance. No sooner is the owl spied by
one bird than the cry is set up, and a score of foes are soon
at hand, ready for battle. One by one they alight on the beguiling
twigs, and one by one find themselves held fast. The more they flutter
the more powerless they become, and the more securely are they held.
In this way many valuable and rare birds are often captured.