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Great Tit Parus major stupae   - Behaviour
Great Tit
Photographer : © Viral Patel and Pankaj Maheria
Location :Mount Abu, Sirohi District, Rajasthan, India
Date : 22 November 2018
English synonyms:Great Titmouse, Cinereous Tit (cinereus), Japanese Tit (minor), Grey Tit, Gray Tit, Oxeye Tit, Ceylon Grey Tit, Ceylon Gray Tit, Ishigaki Tit (nigriloris), Oriental Tit (minor)
Bird Family :Paridae - Typical Tits, Sultan Tit, Groundpecker, Yellow-browed Tit
Red Data Status :Least Concern
Remarks :We visited Mount Abu on 22 November 2018 8h27. We always found beautiful birds at this place. It is beautiful spot indeed but also spoiled by visitors with every possible way - crashed beer bottles, empty snack pouches and water bottles and of course cigarette butts - lots of cigarette butts. Everyone seen Cigarette butt litter almost everywhere due to universal habit of Smokers to throw butts everywhere except trashcan, unaware about the fact that what they leave behind is non-biodegradable plastic (cellulose acetate tow fibers) and lots of toxic and serve no use to our environment. On that day at Mt. Abu we witnessed Cigarette-butt Ingestion in Great Tit. There were three of them. All three Great Tit were foraging on ground particularly for cigarette butts. Once they found it perched on nearby tree branches started to biting it vigorously. They were also trying to snatch cigarette butts from each other. We were awed, totally unaware about such a behavior in birds. We photographed them and also quickly take a short video. But Mt. Abu is crowded place, very soon other visitors stopped by and all three Great Tit flew away, leave the Cigarette Filters behind. Not any one took the filter or any part of filter with them. We waited there some time but Great Tit did not came back. We cannot able see more of their behaviour. Brown Rock Chat and Black-lored Tit were also present at same place but they were not a bit interested in cigarette butts. They were foraging and eating their natural diet. Only Great Tit looks fond of cigarette filters –probably addicted of stimulation effect of nicotine. We saw many birds to visit our litter and actually consume it. But this we observed first time. According to John Powers, pigeons in New York City are addicted to nicotine. Pigeons don't smoke. Based on the assumption that pigeons in the city consume copious amounts of nicotine in discarded cigarette butts, this study set out to prove that the birds were hooked on the chemicals in the cigarettes. Sure enough, the study found that, most pigeons in New York City take in the same amount of nicotine each day as a human who smokes an entire pack of cigarettes. Opium farmers in India are complaining that addicted parrots are destroying their crops. Opium specialist at Horticulture College, Mandsaur, Dr. R.S. Chundawat said opium would have a similar effect as coffee does on humans. He explained: "Opium gives the bird instant energy, much like a human intakes tea or coffee to derive instant energy. Once the feeling is experienced by the winged creatures, they have fallen prey to the addiction." You can watch the video of this behavior on https://youtu.be/lfmR4vMp6j8 . Reference : Powers, J., Accessed at http://johnjpowers.blogspot.com/2013/09/pigeons-addicted-to-nicotine.html on 16/07/2019 Smithers, D. Accessed at http://www.ladbible.com/news/animals-indian-parrots-are-addicted-to-heroin-and-are-attacking-poppy-farms-20190228 on 16/07/2019 - VP & PM Some earlier work has centered around birds using nicotine is an insecticide & lining their nests. See: https://www.nature.com/news/city-birds-use-cigarette-butts-to-smoke-out-parasites-1.11952 But there is suggestions that the high nicotine in nests is leading to greater chromosomal abnormalities in chicks. See: https://www.sciencealert.com/these-birds-have-picked-up-a-nasty-cigarette-habit-to-fight-off-parasites humanity needs to get its act together. -Amar