Fire likely caused by bird using lit cigarette in nest

When I first saw this headline, I thought a pet bird was actually smoking. But, read on.

BBC News – Stockwell fire blamed on bird carrying lit cigarette.

A bird carrying a lit cigarette to its nest has been blamed for starting a fire in a building in south London.

London Fire Brigade investigators believe a bird took the smouldering butt to its nest on the roof of the building in Landor Road, Stockwell.

The blaze damaged about a fifth of the building’s roof and nine people were evacuated.

“We believe that one of the birds picked up a cigarette butt that was still smouldering and dropped it into the nest, causing it to catch fire and set the roof alight.”

Amazing they could figure that out from the clues left behind. I wonder if the bird took the smoking object in order to help fumigate the nest.

City birds use cigarette butts to smoke out parasites : Nature News & Comment.

Birds have long been known to line their nests with vegetation rich in compounds that drive away parasites. Chemicals in tobacco leaves are known to repel arthropods such as parasitic mites…

bird nest

So, now I’m left wondering how often they inadvertently catch their nests on fire.

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  3 comments for “Fire likely caused by bird using lit cigarette in nest

  1. Erik
    March 6, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    …and this a good reminder on why you should never throw any burning cigarettes on the ground or out of your vehicle – dispose of your butts properly!

    • Cathy
      March 6, 2014 at 4:57 PM

      The number of bush fires they start…

  2. kittynh
    March 6, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    these nests catch on fire sometimes, and the fires are incredible. I couldn’t find the documentary that shows the fires (it was done by the group that did ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy”) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jPibkNv7lM

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