Business lesson from House Finches - Cigarette Butts & Building Nests
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Cigarette Butts & Building Nests, Business lesson from House Finches (#7)

Business lesson from House Finches

When we build a startup, we go about trying to get, buy, acquire anything and everything and all before even we test the product market fit or before we test the feasibility of the product. People have splurged their money (or their investors) even before successfully building their product. We never innovate form what we have at hand but look for something say what our Western Startup Counterparts might have done. Many many such stories are abound in the Startup world today and all of us such people we have a business lesson from House Finches birds.

Cigarette Butts & Building Nests. How do birds build Nests from what’s available. A business lesson from House Finches

Macías Garcia and his team experimented with 32 house finch nests. What they found was startling. 

One day after the eggs in the nest had hatched, the researchers removed the natural nest lining and replaced it with artificial felt, to remove any parasites that might have moved in during brooding. They then added live ticks to 10 of the nests, dead ticks to another 10 and left 12 free of ticks.

They found that the adult finches were significantly more likely to add cigarette butt fibres to the nest if it contained ticks. What’s more, the weight of cigarette butt material added to nests containing live ticks was, on average, 40 per cent greater than the weight of cigarette butt material added to nests containing dead ticks.

Innovative thinking

The results suggest that the finches are using the cigarette butts to “medicate” their nests against the ticks, says Macías Garcia. ‘‘Ectoparasites such as ticks and mites cause damage to finches – for example, eating their feathers and sucking their blood,” he says.

“It’s fascinating, and an exciting example of animals being innovative and making use of the materials available to them,” says Steve Portugal at Royal Holloway, University of London.


This actually reconfirms the research – “The Affordable Loss Principle” by  Nicholas Dew & Saras D. Sarasvathy which talks about how all successful businesses have thrived because they chose always to tread the path of Affordable loss and trying to innovate from what we have, and that is they is the main mantra for the eventual success of the firms or what we can say the Survival of the businesses – exactly the same lesson we learnt from House Finch and that is what nature tells us – Affordable Loss, & Innovate with what you have. We need to keep telling ourselves all the time these two mantras

  • Affordable Loss, &
  • Innovate from what you have

Further Reads

When to inject venom and when not to? Let’s learn a business lesson from Snakes (#5)

How mongoose attacks a snake, a business lesson is hidden inside, lesson #3

How to price your product? let’s learn a business lesson from Paper Wasps (#4)

Nature or Nurture? A business lesson from Dunnock Birds (#6)

Mother Giraffe kicks their newborn & Why? Business lessons from our Wildlife, #2

Business lessons from our Wildlife – Lesson #1 – Baya Weaver Bird


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