Birdbrain is often used to refer to somebody stupid, but what do we say when birds actually show that they can be brainy too!
The birds in cities have begun protecting their nests with cigarette buds to keep out parasitic mites. They have begun to use nicotine in the discarded material which works well to keep pests way.
Scientists at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City measured the amount of cellulose acetate in the paper filters at the end of cigarettes. They found that when nests had more of cellulose acetate there were fewer parasitic mites.
Birds in the wild have long been known to put vegetation in the nests to keep parasites away. During the study researchers found that nests with unsmoked butts has trapped double the number of parasites.
"It appears that ... mites are repelled by nicotine, perhaps in conjunction with other substances," the study authors said. It was evident that birds could easily make out smoked and non-smoked butts from their scent.Birds seem to have adapted well to protect their nests in the cities.