Smokers in a flap over ashtray bird
Published 26/04/2011 | 14:08
A bird's hopes for a dream home almost went up in smoke after choosing to build its nest in a cigarette bin.
The garden bird, a great tit, was all in a flap as blue tits were also seen sizing up the bizarre spot at the RSPB's Fairburn Ings nature reserve in Castleford, West Yorkshire, ahead of breeding season.
The great tit won out, though, and provided a unique incentive for visitors to the attraction to kick the habit after it was seen moving in.
The ashtray has been put out of bounds for a few weeks until the birds have left.
Laura Bentley, RSPB Fairburn Ings visitor manager, said: "We'd seen a few birds checking out the ashtray and we did wonder whether they might be considering it for a nest site.
"We found moss and nesting material nearby and when we peered through when the bird had left the area it was clear a nest had been built inside.
"These pictures show them about to enter their new home and although it might not be an obvious choice, we're delighted they've chosen this spot to try and raise their young.
"However, smokers beware, we are an ashtray down as obviously we've had to make sure no-one else uses it for a while."
Other odd nest sites already reported this year include in an old teapot, a Wellington boot, under a car boot and behind a satellite dish.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is encouraging gardeners and householders to take extra caution when tidying and pruning bushes and shrubs or clearing our garages and sheds to avoid disturbing nesting birds.