What Are the Most Unusual Bird Nest-Building Materials?

Birds have been found to be resourceful and use whatever discarded materials are available when building their nests, including cigarette butts, aluminum foil, cellophane and plastic strips. Although birds tend to use twigs, leaves and mud to make their nests, some unusual bird nest-building materials have been found to be effective for constructing sturdy nests and repelling parasites. For example, scientists have found that cellulose acetate, an ingredient in cigarettes, drives away parasites. The chemicals in the cigarette butts, however, might be harmful to birds over the long term.

More about bird nest construction:

  • The male bird typically builds the nest and might have to create several versions before the female bird will approve.
  • The swiftlet bird, found in southeast Asia, makes an edible nest entirely out of saliva. Its nest is one of the most expensive culinary delicacies in Asia.
  • Some of the largest bird nests in the world are constructed by the African hammerkopf and can be as much as 6 feet (1.83 meters) tall and weigh 11 pounds (5 kilograms).
More Info: nature.com

Discussion Comments


I think the intentional arrangements that yield optical illusions in bowerbird bowers are good candidates for most unusual inclusions.


What about the well known fact that the nicotine in cigarette butts causes the eggshells to be extremely thin and the eggs never develop into live babies? I am tremendously surprised and disappointed by this glaring omission.


Nature has shown that everything in this universe is useful to some creature of the world and that nothing is useless and has a proper use.

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