Don’t we like it when animals learn cool tricks? Like dogs bringing beer from the fridge or cats responding to kiss.
But did you know that you can teach such awesome tricks to birds as well? I know it sounds a little not-so-possible but Hans Forsberg who works in robotics and industrial applications of artificial intelligence has made it possible. It happened because he thought big.
He trained the friendly neighborhood magpies so that they could bring and recycle bottle caps in exchange for food. Cool, right? Wait till you see the bird feeder machine that he built from scratch to exchange bottle caps for food.
Magpies are quite intelligent among birds. In fact, they are so intelligent that they are now an example of recycling waste.
Han’s came with this idea when he saw magpies in his backyard. Actually, this bird has been living in his backyard for years. Then one day, he noticed that one of the magpies was trying to open complex locks of the exterior lights.
That’s when it occurred to him that this bird could possibly perform more useful tasks. Thus. he started building this machine that would help magpies to collect garbage from the surrounding area in exchange for food.
It was a new project for Hans and also, he realized that by doing this, he could train easily train this intelligent bird.
Computer scientist Hans Forsberg built a machine that offers food in exchange for bottle caps
When a magpie drops a cap in the designated hole, it receives food from the dispenser
This box has different dispensers. The first one has food, such as peanuts and kibble.
When the “offering” is made, the food comes out, falls down a tube, and funnel connected to the base, with a small compartment where the bird can pick it up.
Along with food, the box also has a Raspberry Pi system with a camera to monitor everything.
For several years, he taught neighborhood magpies how to recycle the bottle caps that litter the area
Adult magpies are very conservative, but young magpies are eager to keep the environment clean
Seeing the pictures, you might assume that training this bird was easy. But that’s not true. In fact, Han took so many years to properly build this machine and train the birds. It’s the result of years and years of hard work.
He started the training by getting the birds interested in the feeder, feeding them regularly, and persuading them to visit him during their patrols.
Another challenge was managing the time because apparently, adult magpies are always cautious and suspicious of everything. But younger ones like to keep the environment clean.
In the future, he hopes to teach them how to collect other types of waste as well
Here you can see videos of the friendly magpies cleaning the neighborhood
What do you think of this story? Do you think Han created a useful machine that can be used for training birds and keeping the environment clean? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. And if you liked this story, don’t forget to share it with your friends.