Timeline of Corvid Cleaning and other projects:
2008 – Joshua Klein from the USA holds a TED talk presenting a design idea for a vending machine where birds pick coins. He will later share his design for people to test at their location.
2013 – Without knowledge of Joshua Klein, I (Christian Günther-Hanssen) have the idea that became Corvid Cleaning while studing for a psychology test at Lund University while the rook were cawing outside the library. Early tests start the same year, a very simple first prototype was build, but these attempts were far too rudimentary to get anywhere.
2015 – Christophe Vieren at the University of Lille becomes the first to successfully train a wild bird to pick items (flattened cans) from the ground and put in a vending machine. Located on the faculty roof, the machine was used by magpies. The project only got limited attention in France and was unknown to Corvid Cleaning until recently.
2018 – Joshua Klein launches The CrowBox, available for the public to buy and put together at home, which attempts to train birds to pick coins. As of writing no CrowBox has reported to get wild birds to finish the last part of training: picking coins from the ground.
2018 – Crowded Cities, a Dutch start-up, is founded. It aims to teach crows to pick butts, but never reports successfully training any wild birds, and the project is later canceled.
2019 – After building a second prototype, Corvid Cleaning places it at Hagby Recycling Center in Täby and starts testing different training methods. Mechanical issues, and rats, cause delays to these tests.
2020 – Hans Forsberg from Partille shares his success getting wild magpies to pick bottle caps in his garden. He is thus the second to get this far.
2021 – Birds for Change, a French start-up, is founded. Currently still working on teaching the birds to use the machine.
2021 – Hooded crows at Hagby successfully complete the training done by Corvid Cleaning. They picked bamboo sticks imitating cigarette butts, as shown in the clip on the landing page. This became public in 2022.
2021 – Father and son team Tomas and Olof Morsing from Partille share their success getting wild magpies to pick assorted plastic items in their garden. No relation to Hans Forsberg despite the close proximity. This project is still active and recently launched a Youtube channel.
2022 – Corvid Cleaning plans to run the first test with wild birds picking litter thrown by people in a public place.