|Cigarette Butts incorporated in nest- Blue Channel 24|
Over 2500 species of mites from 40 families are associated with birds. They can be roughly divided into those living on birds' bodies and others living in their nests. Nest mites that feed on blood are associated with decreased reproductive success, slowing chick's development or even killing them. Whether this is a cause or simply reflects larger populations of mites in nests with weakened birds is still being studied.*
Birds such as starlings are known to incorporate fresh aromatic plants into their nests and actually refresh them from time to time. Theories to explain this behavior range from building up immunity of their chicks to serving as a repellent against harmful parasites.
So have birds figured out that filters reduce parasites or have they just found a ready source of "commercial" insulation with a high R value? Do the birds benefit from the parasite reduction or is their health affected by the nicotine? Stay tuned for the next chapter from future studies.
*Much more detailed information on bird nests at this Eastern Kentucky University site.