JAN 31, 2018 9:23 AM PST

Can we teach crows to pick up litter?


With all the litter in the world, you would think that we would have figured out a smart way to start collecting it, right? Well, turns out a Dutch start-up is working on just that with an unlikely ally: crows. Crowded Cities has begun training crows to pick up cigarette butts with a device called the Crowbar. The start-up decided to focus on cigarettes because they are the most littered object on the planet; we litter an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts annually, and the plastic inside cigarette filters can take up to 10 years to decompose.

Employing crows, one of the smartest birds out there in the corvid family, plays on the birds' natural intelligence and social behavior. Here's how it works: Step 1. the crows bring a cigarette filter to the Crowbar, where they drop it into the bottom funnel to get it checked. Step 2: After the camera has recognized the cigarette filter as a filter, it returns a bit of food to the table in front of the crow. Step 3: The crow tells other crows and they learn by example. Sounds, amazing, no? Learn more about this awesome idea by watching the video above!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUL 23, 2020
Health & Medicine
Study Reveals Racial Disparities in Children's Postsurgical Outcomes
JUL 23, 2020
Study Reveals Racial Disparities in Children's Postsurgical Outcomes
A study published this week in Pediatrics revealed racial disparities in postsurgical mortality and complicati ...
JUL 30, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Indian Schoolgirls Discover Asteroid Moving Towards Earth
JUL 30, 2020
Indian Schoolgirls Discover Asteroid Moving Towards Earth
During a project sponsored by Space India and NASA, two schoolgirls aged 14 in the 10th grade discovered an asteroid nea ...
AUG 10, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Researchers Debunk Cannabis Growing Myths
AUG 10, 2020
Researchers Debunk Cannabis Growing Myths
Researchers at Utah State University grew cannabis to study until the Controlled Substances Act came into force in 1970. ...
AUG 20, 2020
Health & Medicine
New Method to Detect Microplastics in Human Tissues
AUG 20, 2020
New Method to Detect Microplastics in Human Tissues
Microplastics make headlines frequently these days, and a discovery from Arizona State University (ASU) researchers is b ...
AUG 21, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Earth's Outer Core, in the Middle of a Laboratory
AUG 21, 2020
Earth's Outer Core, in the Middle of a Laboratory
Deep underneath our feet lies Earth's outer core, a fluid layer over two thousand kilometers (1,500 mi) in thickness ...
NOV 19, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Unlocking the Secret of a Tasty Cold Drink
NOV 19, 2020
Unlocking the Secret of a Tasty Cold Drink
Sour beer isn't for everyone: its unique taste of acidity and tartness could excite some but turn off others.  ...
Loading Comments...