An unlikely new group of freelance employees have been added to a French workforce.

At the Puy du Fou theme park in western France, six birds have been employed to collect and dispose of garbage – mainly cigarette ends and other small pieces.

As payment for their services, the birds take the collected trash to special bins where they can receive bird food in exchange for depositing the litter.

“The park is very clean,” park president Nicolas de Villiers told NPR. “The purpose of the crows … is to educate the people, to open their minds, to think, ‘OK, the birds are able to do something that we are much more able to do than them, so we should do this by ourselves.’”

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Corvids like crows, ravens, magpies, and rooks have long been observed for their startling displays of intelligence. They are one of the smartest groups of animals on earth, with remarkable problem solving, tool making, and deductive reasoning skills.

In addition to inspiring humans to pick up their trash, the clever rooks currently working at the park are pretty excited to put their wits to work.

“It became a game for them,” de Villiers says. “They pick up the papers on the floor, and they are rewarded.”

(WATCH this incredible TED talk from the man who taught crows how to use vending machines)

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Andy Corbley is the founder and editor of World At Large, a small environment, travel, and lifestyle focused journal that stresses integrity, nuance, and honesty which launched in early March 2019.


  1. They better keep the feeders stocked and empty the trash more often. Those birds are smart. Other untrained birds will learn from these and start imitating the behavior. They’ll also teach their young. And they’ll start enlarging their territory. When there isn’t enough trash in the park, they’ll start to bring it in from farther away to get their reward. Not sure what town this park is in, but if they’re smart, they’ll start setting up feeders and trash stations farther and farther out from the park until the entire city is covered. But again, these birds are smart so they are going to have to look for cheating. Like putting leaves, twigs or acorns in the trash to get a treat. I expect there will be coins being deposited too so they might want to scan that trash before its dumped.

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