Mexican sparrows use cigarette butts to deter nest pests

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Our friends the birds reveal their adaptability & intelligence yet again, this time in Mexico where sparrows have learned that cellulose filters are great for nest-feathering. The residual nicotine also apparently helps suppress mites:

A team led by Constantino Macias Garcia at the National Autonomous University monitored 57 nests and found that the tally of bugs declined as the number of smoked butts in each nest increased. Sparrow nests had between none and 38 used butts, with an average of eight per nest, and finch nests between none and 48, with an average of 10. The behaviour is an intriguing example of how birds adapt to an urban environment, according to the study, which appears on Wednesday in the journal Biology Letters, published by Britain’s Royal Society.

The Natural World: a great bunch of lads. Read the rest of this report here.

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