It’s always very surprising, yet utterly endearing to see animals in the wild learn meaningful tricks. At present, not only dogs but many animals can be trained to do smart things. Read the story below to learn about a unique bird feeder that makes magpies clean the neighborhood, in exchange for food.
Hans Forsberg came up with a truly creative idea on how to teach something useful to the wild birds in his backyard. He works with robotics on industrial applications for artificial intelligence. Putting his talents into good use, he built a machine from scratch that helped the magpies to learn to recycle bottle caps in exchange for food.
This idea occurred to Hans when he saw two magpies that lived in his backyard for a long time, struggling with the locks of his outdoor lanterns. The little critters were looking for the paraffin candles inside the lanterns. At that point, Hans concluded that these creatures could be trained to execute more meaningful tasks.
So, he built a bird feeder that accepts bottle caps from the magpies and gives them food in exchange. Since he found no know-how on the internet regarding this, this project solely depended on Han’s efforts.
The machine consists of several unique components. There’s a dispenser that’s filled with bird food, and when a bottle cap is deposited to the receptacle, few pieces of food come out. When a reward is earned by a bird, the pieces of food are dispensed and comes down through a funnel and a tube that’s connected to a base with a small compartment. Then the bird can retrieve it.
The machine is not as simple as it seems. The main box runs on the Raspberry Pi system. A camera is fixed to monitor all the proceedings. Other electronics and detectors are fixed under the table, in order to make sure that the machine rests on to process and trigger the food dispensation. The machine also includes vibrating motors, and its very own graphic user interface to log its progress and status. You can read more about the technical aspects of the machine here.
According to Hans, training the magpies to collect bottle caps was a pretty challenging task. From getting them interested in the feeder to feed them regularly, Hans had to consistently persuade them to visit his feeder. He also stated that while the adult magpies are cautious with everything, the little ones are more confident when approaching the feeder.
Hans hopes to train the birds to fetch more things that litter the neighborhood, like fallen fruits and cigarette butts, in the future. Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments!
Check Out The Videos Of Magpies Cleaning Up The Neighborhood
Hans Also Made A Explanation Video Of The Food Dispenser
Here’s What Netizens Said About This
Image credits – Hans Forsberg