This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
"At Fakenham, Norfolk, yesterday, Robert Bullen, who was described as a professional poisoner of birds, was sent to gaol for fourteen days in default of paying a fine and costs for laying grain steeped in strychnine on three farms. In one instance a barrowload of dead birds was gathered up. Bullen said he had eaten thousands of poisoned birds and taken no harm. He also said he had been in the business for twenty-five years without complaint. The farmers, who pleaded ignorance of the law, were also fined for allowing the practice."
In the United States of America the sparrow is regarded as a grievous pest, and the following poison advised to effect its destruction as "a pest all the world over":
"Poison for English Sparrows. Dissolve arsenate of soda in warm water at the rate of 1 ounce to 1 pint; pour this upon as much wheat as it will cover (in a vessel which can be closed so as to prevent evaporation), and allow it to soak for at least 24 hours. Dry the wheat so prepared, and it is ready for use. It should be distributed in winter in places where the sparrows congregate."
Of course, this poisoned wheat, as also that steeped in strychnine, implies baiting the birds for a few days before laying the poisoned article, and there is this disadvantage in recourse to poison, that it kills both foes and friends, whereas Sparrow Clubs conducted on intelligent lines make the distinction.