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Waste not, want not

5 December 2012

Mexicans are nothing if not creative when it comes to making use of what has been left behind by others.  Every few days, someone comes through my neighborhood buying up broken appliances, and if you expect to furnish your house through dumpster diving… forget it.  Nothing of any value is going to sit in the trash pile for very long, and if there is anything of value, the trash collectors have first dibs, anyway.

Heck, even the birds of the air are recyclers here:

Cigarette butts are widely reviled as an urban nuisance but birds in Mexico City see them as a boon, apparently using them to deter parasites from their nests, scientists say.

Local sparrows and finches incorporate smoked cigarette butts in their nests to provide cosy cellulose lining for their chicks and nicotine to ward off mites, they believe.


The behaviour is an intriguing example of how birds adapt to an urban environment, according to the study, which appears on ChippingSparrowNestCLWednesday in the journal Biology Letters, published by Britain’s Royal Society.

In non-urban settings, some birds line their nests with aromatic plants, which are thought to have antiparasitic properties or to stimulate the nestlings’ immune system.

Nicotine, a byproduct of the tobacco plant, has also been used in some pest repellents for crops and in controlling poultry parasites.

Agence France-Presse, via Raw Story

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 December 2012 7:01 pm

    Hmm, reminds me of a line from Alan Ginzburg’s HOWL: .”.to return years later from the Isle of Man is Free, cigarette butts hanging from his clothes…” Speaking of parasites, too bad there’s nothing similar to ward off Burro Hall–I checked him out–he’s pretty disgusting, alright. He can be put in his place, or offered an excellent argument if one cares to wade through his garbage/cynical mind-set. I’ll bet he’s an unrelenting weasel to debate.

  2. 7 December 2012 6:26 am

    Son, you have no idea…


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