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Some Birds in Urban Areas Are Lining Their Nests With Cigarette Butts, and It's For Their Own Health

Birds in or near urban areas have long been known to augment their nests with found materials — from plastic bags and foil to electrical cables and cigarette butts. Though it’s hard not to see this as a depressing visual reminder of litter and sprawl, recent research has proven that cigarette butts in nests serve a remedial purpose not only for birds but for people, too.

Last year, a group of scientists led by Monserrat Suárez-Rodríguez and Constantino Macías Garcia of the National Autonomous University of Mexico found that birds were not only weaving smoked, torn-up cigarette butts into their nests to repel parasitic ticks, but they were doing it intentionally.

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