Man Builds Bird Feeder That Exchanges Bottle Caps For Food, And The Magpies Love It

Man Builds Bird Feeder That Exchanges Bottle Caps For Food, And The Magpies Love It

It’s amazing to see the animals learning good tricks. A dog that brings you a beer from the fridge is great, but these days you have to start thinking big. 

 Hans Forsberg works in robotics and industrial applications of artificial intelligence, and he had an idea about how to use his knowledge for good with the family of birds that live in his garden. So he trained the friendly neighborhood magpies to recycle bottle caps in exchange for food, using a machine he built from scratch. 

 Magpies are quite intelligent among birds. In fact, they are so intelligent that they are now an example of recycling waste.
Photo credit: Hans Forsberg

In Hans’ backyard, magpies have been living for years. One day, he saw the curious magpies trying to open the complex locks of the exterior lights, and he got an idea. 

 The magpies wanted the kerosene candles inside, because like crows, they love to steal, but it occurred to Hans that they could possibly perform more useful tasks. So he decided to build a machine, and with its help, train the magpies to collect garbage from the surrounding area in exchange for food. 

This was not only a new project for him, but it seems that no one had tried to do this before, as he couldn’t find anything about it on the internet, so he managed on his own. 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
The project had several key components and processes. 1st, the dispenser, filled with food, such as peanuts and kibble. When trash is deposited in the receptacle, in this case bottle caps, it dispenses one or two pieces of food. 

 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. 

 The main box contains a Raspberry Pi system with camera to monitor everything, and also electronics and detectors under the table on which the machine is located, to process and trigger the food dispenser. 

 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
The project is even more complicated than we have counted, since it also has vibration motors, very particular moving parts in the dispenser and its own graphic user interface to record the progress and state of the box. 

 He has been working on the project for several years, since it is not so easy to train the magpies. First he had to get them interested in the feeder, feed them regularly and persuade them to visit him during their patrols. 

 It was also a challenge every time there was a change in routine, as adult magpies are cautious and suspicious of everything. The good news is that everything changed when they had chicks. They were more courageous in approaching the machine and becoming part of this elaborate recycling plan. 

 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

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