Question about old Crow Box vs New Crow Box

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Stephen Chasey

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Apr 20, 2023, 4:29:33 PM4/20/23
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Hello - I suppose this question is for Josh. If it's already been discussed or covered somewhere and I missed it, a link will do. 

I've always liked the enclosure design of the older Crow Box (the one Justin is asking about). The table-top format is very nice. The new one looks great too, but now uncovers the reward instead of dispensing it. I think this is a unique solution - I can't find any other projects of this sort that take that approach .

My question is, what drove you to this solution over the other various dispensing methods in the new Crow Box?

Steve

Michael Kapp

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Apr 21, 2023, 12:25:37 AM4/21/23
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Josh,
I would like to follow it up with, do you have a log of why or how different decisions were made? I have been wondering about this type of design as well. I recently launched mine and maybe have some crows starting to show interest with it pole mounted. They go near my other pole mounted feeders but not on the crowbox yet. The ground versions seem more successful for crows, but not sure how to block squirrels with that design. 

I have been trying to come up with ways to enhance my crowbox as well as design another version that can do more and at a lower cost. I am making slow progress, but I have been making some steps forward. 

Thanks,
MK

Josh Klein

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Apr 21, 2023, 10:17:11 AM4/21/23
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Great question! The original, older standing design looks awesome - but it relied on infrared to detect birds interacting with the feeder. That means it also detected squirrels, dogs, sunlight off flashing cars, etc. etc. and had a bunch of problems in bright, sunny conditions. The standing design also required that the corvids walk around on the ground in front of the box, which meant it had to be on the ground itself and couldn't be mounted on a pole. If any of you have any interactions with squirrels you'll understand why that was a problem. Finally, it ended up encouraging the birds to crowd around the feeder tray and shove and push each other to get access, which we thought would delay the education process. 

So we changed the design to give us more control in detecting the weight of the participating animal, where we installed the box, to limit how many animals interacted with it at a time, and generally to make our lives easier. 

I hope that's helpful!
- J

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Josh Klein

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Apr 21, 2023, 10:23:23 AM4/21/23
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Unfortunately not for the earlier versions; the initial models were really shots in the dark, so I ended up iterating heavily based on experience and didn't do a great job logging each design choice. The last few versions (particularly the one on thecrowbox.com) was much more considered, carefully developed, and have a much better log of the design drivers. 

- J

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Michael Kapp

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Apr 24, 2023, 11:54:27 PM4/24/23
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Josh,
I don't really have experience with it, but I am trying to learn how to implement an AI to at least detect a bird vs squirrel event, but ideally crow vs anything else. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of tutorials that I could try to follow at this point. I think if a new version had that type of feature and could also dump food at the same time everyday, then we might be able to get to a ground version. 
I haven't had success with my crowbox yet, but finally got Blue jays which I hear is actually a good indicator. What I have observed so far is they are comfortable on the ground walking under my crowbox (and other feeders) and comfortable flying to and eating off the hanging tray feeder. I have peanuts in both the crowbox and the tray, but I have only seen them hit the tray so far. 

It seems to be like two of the biggest problems are feeding times (when they expect food to be there) and preventing other birds/animals from impeding. I think this AI feature could solve this problem. 
I found this and was thinking of trying it soon just to see if the labels matched with what I observe in my wyze notifications. 

Do my observations match yours? What are your thoughts on all this? 

Thanks for you time,
Michael

Josh Klein

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Apr 25, 2023, 5:04:15 AM4/25/23
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It's possible that detecting crows vs anything else could allow for a ground version, but I'd suggest recognizing individual crows would be even more impactful. This way you could tell which birds were more willing to try things, who was newer to a particular feeder, if a specific bird was picking up training routines, etc. Some members of the group have already made some efforts here; anyone care to chime in?

In regard to feeding times, I've noticed that different birds will keep different schedules. For example, in a mated pair's territory they may start the morning in one location, then move to another, and always spend the afternoon in a third. While this "routine" can change with weather, predators, construction, food availability, etc., it's not a bad way of charting their movements and can create some regular appearances to time feedings to. 

OTOH, if you got rid of the other animals impeding the machine could just serve them whenever worked best for the birds themselves, so that may be the most desirable solution. Let us know how your efforts go; this could be a game changer in creating more reliable means for the birds to absorb the training regime!

- J

Stephen Chasey

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Apr 26, 2023, 7:06:32 AM4/26/23
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Hi Josh,

Thank you, that makes sense. In particular I was curious about what drove you to go with exposing the peanuts/kibble/etc. rather than dispensing them. Did the older version use an auger, carousel or vibration dispenser? I ask because the dispenser is usualy the most difficult bit to make reliable in my experience.

Steve

Josh Klein

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Apr 28, 2023, 6:40:05 AM4/28/23
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TBH, the open hatch design was simply the easiest and most versatile. I've experimented with auger, carousel and vibration methods and while you can get one or the other to work with some food most of the time, none of them work with all of the food you might want to use all of the time. 

The downside to an open hatch, obviously, is that the birds can eat all that they want while it's open. But given the trade-offs that seemed like small price to pay for more reliable operation, especially at this stage in the research process.

Thanks for asking, I hope this helps!
Josh

Stephen Chasey

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Apr 28, 2023, 9:30:05 AM4/28/23
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Hi Josh,

Thank you for the info! I've noticed that birds tend to stash or eat unshelled peanuts away from the feeder, so they don't camp out and wont be able to gorge themselves when the food is uncovered. Dispensing them is extra challenging as they are not very dense and jam easily.

Steve

Cynthia Correll

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Apr 28, 2023, 10:04:59 AM4/28/23
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I purchased most of the material to make a box including the laser cut plastic. Turns out I am not that handy but would be happy to give it to someone for free if you pay for shipping. I am in AZ. 

Norman Hicks

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May 3, 2023, 12:41:34 PM5/3/23
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On Fri, Apr 28, 2023 at 10:05 AM Cynthia Correll <cc1s...@gmail.com> wrote:
I purchased most of the material to make a box including the laser cut plastic. Turns out I am not that handy but would be happy to give it to someone for free if you pay for shipping. I am in AZ. 

Cynthia, 

If it hasn’t already been spoken for, I’d be interested in taking you up on this offer. I can email you my address directly.

Garvin Hicks

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