This preparation is used extensively by professional birdcatchers, and affords a very simple and effectual method of capturing small birds without injuring them. Twigs or small rods are coated with birdlime, and placed either near some food or over a cage contahrng another bird. In either case the wild bird is sure to hop on to the limed twig, and will be held until the birdcatcher secures him.
Good birdlime is greenish colored; very gluey, stringy, and tenacious; when air-dried it is brittle and pulverizable, but capable of gradually assuming its previous viscosity when moistened.
To prepare it the middle bark of the holly (gathered in June or July) is boiled from six to eight hours in water, or until it becomes quite soft and tender. The water is then drained off, and it is placed in a heap in a pit under ground (commonly on layers of fern) and covered with stones. Here it is left to ferment for two or three weeks, and watered, if necessary, until it assumes a mucilaginous state. It is next pounded in a mortar until reduced to a uniform mass, which is then well kneaded with the hands in running water until all the refuse matter is worked out. It is, lastly, placed in an earthen vessel and covered with a little water, in which state it may be preserved from season to season. In about a week it is fit for use.