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.
[Page 99] THE HUMMING BIRD TRAP.
One of the most ingenious uses to which bird lime is said to have been applied with success, is in the capture of humming-birds. The lime in this instance is made simply by chewing a few grains of wheat in the mouth until a gum is formed. It is said that by spreading this on the inside opening of the long white lily or trumpet-creeper blossom, the capture of a humming-bird is almost certain, and he will never be able to leave the flower after once fairly having entered the opening. There can be no doubt but that this is perfectly practicable, and we recommend it to our readers.
The object in making the bird-lime from wheat consists in the fact that this is more easily removed from the feathers than the other kinds.