Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

September 1970


Two years ago, Mike Fall and I showed you some ideas we had regarding mod¬ern architecture and bird problems. This year we've switched to considering bird hazards in older frame dwellings and on buildings where a fire hazard may be ap¬parent. During a class project some time ago, I was examining a nest of house sparrows and discovered that these birds incorporated cellulose cigarette filters into their nests. Filters were stripped of their paper wrapping and were apparently used by the sparrows as a substitute for or a supplement to fluffy air-born seeds and seed mat¬erials. The incidence of the cigarette filters varied. In the nests that I sampled the numbers varied anywhere from six up to two dozen filter remnants. We feel that the incidence will probably vary with the relative availability of discarded cigarette filter butts. We are concerned with the incidence of filters as an index to the possibility that the birds are picking up live cigarette butts, and this leads us to investigate some records of fires over the past three quarters of a century that were claimed to have been caused by birds.