Northern Ireland

No butts, smoking ban for pub cigarette bin as birds move in

Image caption Home is where the butts are for a family of blue tits

Dessie McKenzie of the Linnet Inn in Boho, County Fermanagh, has had to extend the pub's no smoking area... to the cigarette bin.

Two weeks ago a pair of blue tits decided the box just outside the pub was just the place to raise a family.

They have been nesting there for two weeks and have hatched chicks.

"About three weeks ago, a customer threw a cigarette butt into the box and out flew a tit, which was unusual, to say the least," said Dessie.

"He told me about it and I went to inspect the box. I was really surprised to see that that butts had been used by the blue tits as nest building material and even more surprised to see there were eggs.

"I quickly put up signs to stop people from using the boxes and called the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to find out what I should do."

Stephanie Sim went down to take a look at the 'nest' as well as to make sure the birds were doing well.


"At this time of the year we get calls from all over the country asking us what should be done about the birds which have nested in unusual places," said Stephanie.

"This definitely takes the biscuit though. It show you never know where nature will turn up."

Dessie also found that his other cigarette box was a nest site for a robin.

However, this nest did not fledge and when Dessie noticed the birds had abandoned the site, he took a look in the nest and saw a hatched egg and an addled egg.

"Dessie has done the right thing leaving the nest sites alone, until the birds hatch and fledge," said Stephanie. "All bird nests are protected by law and destroying a nest site is a wildlife crime. If you do have birds nesting you need to allow them to bring up their brood and get away."

From 2 - 10 June this year the RSPB will be holding its summer survey called Make Your Nature Count. It asks people to, over the course of a week, spend an hour in their gardens and report the findings to the RSPB.