Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

bird-lime-msg - 9/3/17


Comments on making and using bird lime in period to catch birds.


NOTE: See also the files: falconry-msg, p-falconry-bib, Featherd-Gold-art, fowls-a-birds-msg, The-Bestiary-art, feathers-msg, netting-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org




From: "celia" <c_a_blay at hotmail.com>

Newsgroups: soc.history.medieval

Subject: Re: Small Things

Date: 16 Jul 2006 23:15:00 -0700


Mark S. Harris wrote:

> >  While I was in the woods I gathered some holly to

> > experiment with the making of fly glue/ bird lime

> > as it seems so unlikely that anything as sticky as

> > described could be made from holly, particularly

> > after washing the sap out.

> >   Are you interested in the progress of the experiment

> > or is this something that has been done ?

> Yes, I am. Is this something you have directions or a recipe for? What

> part of the holly are you using? Apparently not the sap and that is what

> would first occur to me, although I don't have any idea why holly might

> be better/different from any other plant.


The directions are from Goodman of Paris.

I must check the translation as I don't like

the bit about wrapping 'in elder or other large leaves'

as elder leaves are small. Elder flowers were used to repel

insects but this seems a fly glue so an attactant would

be more useful, there could be a magical reason but

a bad translation seems more likely.


All the directions are counter intuitive but this glue

and variants are mentioned time and again.


The part used is the cambrium layer, it is seperated

from the bark by boiling and washings follow.


  As a first step, i considered what age of holly to harvest.

Holly in sap in the summer months is specified so despite

all the washing a sappy bit seems called for, this seems logical

as the cambrium is the only 'live' part of the tree.


I decided on a mixture of all but the very oldest and youngest bark.


  Next as a control, i seperated out some of the cambrian

without boiling so i can see if the boiling is essential or just

an easy way of seperating the bark.


  In winter, when used for bird lime, mistletoe berries are added.

Is this because mistletoe is sticky or to attract the birds

or again could there be a ritual significance ?


  I work with holly most days as it is the most basic

wood for carriage whip maknig and it isn't sticky.


When peeling the bark it was less sticky than a post it note.

i wondered if fermentation was part of the secret but

the boiling and the insistance on a cool place to keep

it before it is ready seem to suggest otherwise

I can't see it working but it was mentioned so often

that its got to be worth finding out.


  Do you know when rabbit skin glue was first used ?

Early I suspect if it was an original ingredient of Gesso.




> I do have info on bird lime being used in the Middle Ages, but don't know

> much about it otherwise.



Date: Sun, 6 Jul 2008 19:37:29 +0000 (GMT)

From: emilio szabo <emilio_szabo at yahoo.it>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] (No) Limes in Shakespeare

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


<<< Here's an interesting site on food references in Shakespeare's works:

http://www.soupsong.com/ibard.html .


On the question of citrus in the Bard's plays, it shows two references to

oranges in Much Ado About Nothing and a reference to lemons in Love's Labor

Lost, but nothing about limes.


Bear >>>


Also, Alexander Schmidt, in his two-volume Shakespeare-Lexicon does not

mention the fruit in the entry "lime": "Lime, subst. 1) a viscous substance laid on twigs to catch birds, bird-lime, ... 2) the matter of which mortar is made ..." (volume I, page 655).




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org