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I'd like to point out, that the emphasis in this article seemed to be that the wild magpies were cleaning up the neighborhood by collecting the bottle caps -- not that they enjoyed picking up the shiny objects (as per their natural inclination) and to receive a food reward for these efforts.



The next phase of this project would be to train the magpies to pick up cigarette butts for the same reward. I think this would be an amazing accomplishment -- since a cigarette butt would not be made of shiny metal (unless you count the aluminum foil wrapper component, instead.)


Could this task be completed? Would wild magpies find cigarette butts irresistible?
Since Toronto's new anti-litter campaign targets cigarette butts, as the filters make up most of the city's litter, having magpies as part of the environmental clean-up crew would be incredible!


 
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I'd like to point out, that the emphasis in this article seemed to be that the wild magpies were cleaning up the neighborhood by collecting the bottle caps -- not that they enjoyed picking up the shiny objects (as per their natural inclination) and to receive a food reward for these efforts.



The next phase of this project would be to train the magpies to pick up cigarette butts for the same reward. I think this would be an amazing accomplishment -- since a cigarette butt would not be made of shiny metal (unless you count the aluminum foil wrapper component, instead.)


Could this task be completed? Would wild magpies find cigarette butts irresistible?
Since Toronto's new anti-litter campaign targets cigarette butts, as the filters make up most of the city's litter, having magpies as part of the environmental clean-up crew would be incredible!





I KNOW .... I KNOW .... Lets train our street rats with wings (pigeons) to pick up cigarette butts for food and the city will be cleaner in a flash. Of course we will have more pigeon poop ... and more pigeons ... butt it would be an awesome thing to accomplish.


I for one will happily be on guard to re-fill the many birb feeders in my area so our pigeon sanitation overlords will do their jobs and be fed constantly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I KNOW .... I KNOW .... Lets train our street rats with wings (pigeons) to pick up cigarette butts for food and the city will be cleaner in a flash. Of course we will have more pigeon poop ... and more pigeons ... butt it would be an awesome thing to accomplish.


I for one will happily be on guard to re-fill the many birb feeders in my area so our pigeon sanitation overlords will do their jobs and be fed constantly.

So, we've switched the main bird of this topic (magpie) to pigeon power? :surprise:
That's OK by me, as I know that bird behaviorists have taught pigeons to peck at certain colors for rewards -- and perhaps they would like to pick up the cigarette butts, just as magpies prefer the shiny bottle caps.


And the plus about pigeons, is that they can be depended upon to fly back to the designated training spot at night, to be ready to start anew in the morning. :wink2:
 
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