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.’”
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.