Dutch Company Wants to Train Crows to Pick Up Cigarette Butts

Kamie Berry | October 19th, 2017

Pollution in the form of garbage on city streets is a major problem in cities worldwide. Discarded cigarette butts make up a large portion of this street rubbish as more than 4.5 trillion of them are thrown out every year. These cigarette remains then go on to contaminate the environment with toxic chemicals and carcinogens.

Aside from hiring people to sweep them up, a tedious and expensive task, what can be done to rid the world of these pollutants?


A Dutch start-up called Crowded Cities thinks they have the solution to this disgusting problem, and it is rather interesting. They have figured out that they can train crows to collect these cigarette butts.

The company is developing a device that they believe will be able to train crows to pick up discarded cigarette butts in exchange for peanuts or other food treats. They call the device CrowBar. It consists of a funnel, in which the crows will drop the butts, and a dispenser that will give treats to the birds.

Since crows are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, Crowded Cities believes they can train the birds using a simple four-step process.

First, the CrowBar presents food and a cigarette butt on a platform. This trains the crow to expect food from the machine. Then, the machine switches to dispensing food only when the crow arrives at it. This teaches the bird how the machine works. Third, the CrowBar presents a butt but no food. When the bird inevitably starts looking for the food, it should knock the cigarette butt into the funnel, and a treat will be dispensed. In the final step of training, cigarette butts will be scattered on the ground near the machine. The birds should then figure out that putting the butts in the CrowBar will result in them getting a food reward. This should then lead the crows to scour the city looking for cigarette butts they can exchange for food.

The company has not yet tested the machine on crows, but they hope to have a working prototype soon. If it works, it could literally cost peanuts to start cleaning up the streets in the cities of the world.

Next Article
  • The Time Stalin Ordered A Carbon Copy Of The B-29 Bomber

    In 1944, the USSR quickly realized that in terms of modern heavy bombers they were lacking behind. When reaching Berlin, they noticed that Britain and America air forces had been constantly bombing German cities at capacities that the USSR did not have. Luckily, on the other side of the world, America had been bombing Japanese...

    Read More
  • From Poverty To Becoming A Millionaire Oil Baron

    Sarah Rector was born in 1902 in Oklahoma on Muscogee Creek Indian allotted land to two parents who both came from enslaved ancestry. In 1907 when Oklahoma passed a law that ordered the Creeks land to be divided between the Creeks and also their former slaves. This meant that Sarah Rector and all her family...

    Read More
  • A North American Casino Was Hacked Via A Smart Fish Tank

    When it comes to browsing the internet most people are now aware of phishing scams where hackers try to fake popular websites and get you to give them your personal details. One casino in North American found out about an entirely different type of hack, one that had to do with actual fish. One of...

    Read More
  • In 1962 Maryland Declared Jousting Their Official State Sport

    One would have thought that jousting was reserved for a bygone time, the medieval ages. A time of knights, kings, and princesses; all galloping furiously on their noble steeds. Tipped from head to toy in ancient armor, jousting was a sport that was much loved for decades. Of course, as we entered the modern times...

    Read More
  • There Has Only Ever Been One Submarine VS Submarine Fight Ever!

    A famous film that dramatized underwater battle for the whole world to see is, of course, The Hunt For Red October, it portrayed a nerve-racking experience with crews deep under the ocean searching for their enemy with sonar. And though it is true that hunting undersea enemies is, of course,...

    Read More
  • Nuclear Pasta The Strongest Material In The Universe

    If you happen to be in the industry of creating the strongest materials in the universe, then you are in luck. We have the recipe and it only takes three easy steps: Find yourself one dying star and put into your favorite boiling pot, boil it until it goes supernova and explodes. Beware this could...

    Read More
  • Sometimes Little Galaxies Are Actually Cannibals

    Astronomers around the globe have long seen big galaxies like the Milkyway swallow up some of their little brothers and sisters. In fact, the sky is full of cannibals. They swallow up stars that are in their cosmic neighbors, and over time eat up whole galaxies. It seems only natural, that even in space, the...

    Read More