Green’s Dictionary of Slang

birdseye n.

[resemblance: a bird’s eye is small; senses 2 and 3, note Maurer, Language of the Underworld Narcotics Addict (1936): ‘Probably so called from the constriction of the pupils and glassy appearance of the addict’s eyes immediately after injection’]

1. (also bird’s eye) tobacco; cit. 1841 is an extended pun on eye n. (1) and screw n.1 (1b)/SE screw, a twist of tobacco [also proprietory name].

[UK] ‘Female Tobacconist’ in Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 43: One was a youth, turned twenty and two, / He view’d her bird’s eye, then called for a screw.
[UK]Trollope Three Clerks (1869) 16: Mary, my dear, a screw of bird’s eye!
[UK]J. Greenwood Unsentimental Journeys 139: If they are smokers, they’ll find a supply of the best birdseye and some straw pipes.
[UK] ‘’Arry on His ’Oliday’ in Punch 13 Oct. 160/2: Then, S’rimps! Wy, I pooty near lives on ’em; got arf a pocketful here, / There’s a flavour of bird’s-eye about ’em, but that’s soon took off by the beer.
[UK]J. Greenwood Tag, Rag & Co. 29: ‘The worst of birdseye [...] it blows away’ -puff, puff – ‘quicker than the common kind o’bacca’.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 17 May 23/3: Fetch your aged sire [...] half an ounce of the best birdseye.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 29 Mar. 2/4: If you were shag of dark hue, / And I were mild bird's eye, / We’d scent the passing hours / And fumigate the flowers.
[UK]F. Gilbert [perf. Herbert Campbell] ‘That’s the wust o’ gals’ 🎵 I had one ounce o’ birdseye, he, the swaddie, had cigars.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 4 May 484: An ounce of yer very best bird’s eye.

2. (drugs) a weak injection of narcotics.

[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl. 18: birdseye, n. A weak shot of dope. It is extracted from cotton through which other shots have been strained.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
[US](con. 1950-1960) R.A. Freeman Dict. Inmate Sl. (Walla Walla, WA) 10: Bird’s eye – a small shot of narcotics.

3. (drugs) a small amount of narcotics.

[US]B. Dai Opium Addiction in Chicago 196: Birds-eye. A very small quantity of drugs done up in paper.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Lannoy & Masterson ‘Teen-age Hophead Jargon’ AS XXVII:1 24: BIRDSEYE, n. Small amount of narcotics [LAPD].
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).