In Sweden, Crows Are Trained to Clean Up The Streets of Cigarettes Butts

    In Sweden, Crows Are Trained to Clean Up The Streets of Cigarettes Butts

    In Sweden, Crows Are Trained to Clean Up The Streets of Cigarettes Butts
    6:55 PM EDT, June 12, 2022

    An unusual pilot program has been launched in Sweden. In this country recruited birds to clean up urban space.

    Crows Clean Up Streets


    Meanwhile, an unusual pilot program is being launched in the Swedish city of Södertälje (near Stockholm). Corvid Cleaning company has come up with an idea to teach crows to pick up cigarette butts. As it turns out, over a billion cigarette butts are thrown onto the streets in Sweden every year. This is 62% of all litter and Södertälje alone spends about SEK 20 million a year on street cleaning.

    Intelligent Birds


    According to observation, crows are extremely intelligent birds. They are able to mourn the passing of other individuals and share knowledge with members of their own species. In addition, it turned out that their way of reasoning can be compared to the mind of children aged 7-10 years. Therefore, it was these birds that were recruited for the novel project.

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    Picking cigarette butts.

    The idea itself is simple. Crows are tasked with collecting cigarette butts and tossing them into a specially designed machine. As a reward they receive food. The machine differentiates between rocks or leaves and butts and the birds only get treats when litter is delivered.

    Voluntary Participation


    Christian Gunther-Hanssen (the initiator of the whole project) emphasizes that crows take part in the whole experiment completely voluntarily. He hopes that the birds will learn from each other and, over time, deliver even more cigarette butts. In the future he wants to include magpies and jackdaws in the program as well.

    Birds vs. People


    Currently, the birds' behavior is being monitored to see if the crows will start eating the butts. If the project is successful, it will be a major breakthrough. On the other hand, it is a bit sad that we know how to teach birds to pick up litter, but we ourselves throw cigarette butts on the street.

    What do you think about the idea of birds picking up trash?

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