This mother was feeding her baby bird discarded cigarette butt by beachgoers in Florida.

This tiny skimmer bird, in the photo, was trying to eat the cigarette after being served by its mom. Karen Catbird, who took the photo, is calling the authorities of Florida to clean the beach.

The photographer posted this photo on facebook and wrote:

‘this Skimmer chick was offered a cigarette butt by its parent. It’s time we cleaned up our beaches and stopped treating them like one giant ashtray.’


Also, Catbird is not the only one who wants the beach to clean.

In Florida, the prohibition of tobacco on public beaches was called by the environmental group ManaSota-88. According to Metro, legislation planned to introduce a bill which unfortunately was taken down in 2019 session.

ManaSota-88 said:

“Unfortunately, the 2019 Legislature did not act on the smoking ban and the bill died in the Environment and Natural Resources committee.

The state government does have a role in addressing public health hazard.

Cigarette smokers should not be allowed to use our public beaches as an ashtray. ManaSota-88 fully supports local and state efforts to reduce the irresponsible disposal of cigarette butts on public beaches.”

bird eating cigarette butts

Sadly this is not the first time, birds mistaking cigarette butt for food. It’s is a continuous problem. And it’s inclining for bad. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Office of Response and Restoration states, “it’s not a new thing”.

The agency warned:

“Eating them could cause the animal to choke or starve to death because the plastic isn’t digested, filling up their stomach.”

In Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sarasota tried to implement the tobacco ban on their beaches, which later on was overturned in 2013 and was unconstitutional.

Cigarette butts are now ocean’s largest source of pollution according to an early survey. With more than 60 million picked up over the last 32 years, they are most collected items in cleanup operation on beach.

Due to the risk to human health and pollution that gets created, many activist and campaign groups trying to get cigarette buts banned.

A professor of public health at San Diego State University, Thomas Novotny, says:

“It’s pretty clear there is no health benefit from filters. They are just a marketing tool. And they make it easier for people to smoke. It’s also a major contaminant, with all that plastic waste. It seems like a no-brainer to me that we can’t continue to allow this.”

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