Smart birds learn to clean the city.

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Training crows to pick up trash
By Michelle Robertson
A Dutch start-up company called Entitled Crowded Cities, has come up with an ingenious idea to get our feathered friends to help clean up urban areas. It is estimated that there are 4.5 trillion (4,500,000,000,000!) non-biodegradable cigarette filters littering the cities of the world. This company is training crows to recognize and pick up cigarette butts from streets and green areas in return for a reward. When the crows drop thelitter into a specially designed 'Crowbar', a camera examines the item to confirm that it is actually a cigarette butt. The birds are thengiven somefood which reinforcestheir motivation to keep doing it.

The designers anticipate that the crows will also share their good fortune and new talents with other crows. The inspiration for the idea came from hearing about someone who is teaching crows to collect coins. There’s no question that these birds have the level of intelligence needed to accomplish this task. Extensive research has shown that the cognition of both crows and parrots can reach the same levelas that of primates.


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