thinking again about the importance of the birds as a source of food i have found some more information on the catching of birds in St kilda using hemp and horsehair ropes .

The men often worked in small groups, descending the
highest cliffs in stages using long ropes of hemp or horsehair. The women and children often helped deal with the catch at the cliff-top. The lower sections of cliff were scaled from a boat. Snares made of horsehair were employed to catch auks, one woman catching 127 Atlantic puffins in three hours and another 280 in a day! Nooses attached to long poles extended the reach of the fowlers, while Atlantic puffin eggs could be scooped out of burrows easier with a spoon on the end of a stick. Dogs were also useful in catching adult Atlantic puffins and shearwaters, a good one catching 60 or 70 in one night. Harvests were divided up amongst the community, the birds being plucked and dried for the winter; feathers and oil contributed to the rent. Latterly, some St Kildans sold eggs and stuffed birds as souvenirs to tourists

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