Cigarettes: Bad for You, Good for Birds

Allison Guy
December 28th 2012

Birds use whatever they can get their beaks on to build nests, including cigarette butts. Surprising new research from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México shows that instead of giving baby birds a bad case of smoker's cough, the cigarettes in their nests might actually be helping them. The more used-up filters a nest had, the fewer nest-dwelling parasites called it home.

Since nicotine is a natural pesticide, it's likely that trace remains of the chemical in the butts are keeping away the creepy-crawlies. The researchers still don't know if the birds are using butts because they're good insulators, or if they're somehow aware of their anti-parasite properties. Birds in more wild environments have been known to line their nests with strong-smelling, bug-repelling herbs, so it's possible they're instinctively attracted to that special cigarette stink.

Via Io9

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1 comment

Responsible Smokers Act
Posted 29/12/2012 – 04:02

love seeing our work spread. i've been using the cigarette butt nest picture for over a decade to hit home of the warning of cigarette pollution...its crazy the twist it has seen in the recent weeks...please check out my website and know all this recycling of butts lately is my 18 years world coming to life...finally!
Mike Davis
RSA - InnovaGreen Systems

What is your view on the coronavirus?


Siri Beerends: I really embrace the idea that viruses can teach us a lesson in modesty. It is necessary that our position as the dominant species on the planet is being challenged. I also agree that it is a mistake to think that we are becoming Gods. But unfortunately, this is actually what is happening now. Corona doesn’t teach us to be modest, it teaches us how we can -as quickly as possible- go back to business as usual: saving our capitalistic economy.

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