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I've inadvertently won the first of these competitions.
I wanted to make a political statement cloaked in an idea
to build a bird proof squirrel feeder. As I began writing I
had no idea how this would be achieved but figured
something would come to me by the time I completed my
ass political screed. I came up with a blast
of air cloaking the feeder that would blow the lighter birds
away. It was then pointed out that there are already bird
proof squirrel feeders that simply use a heavy door that
birds can't lift.
That would be in last place for this competition, the
expensive, relatively elaborate air deflection system would
win. It's expensive, overly engineered and can be easily
replaced by a little heavy door.
To be clear, no Rube Goldbergesque additional steps can be
added. You can't have some sort of radar activated stun
gun that differentiates a bird from a squirrel.
Some kind of zapper that's activated by the relatively un-
grounded and static electricity full bird and not the
grounded squirrel? (not that that's a thing) That would win
over my air curtain.
Engineering is about doing something the most efficiently
with the fewest steps. Rube Goldberg already explored
adding multiple inefficient steps, this adds to the
Take a one step system, make another one step system
that's absurdly more expensive, complicated, or down right
stupid. Worst idea wins.
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||Sorry, can't do it - at least not for the squirrel feeder (which, easiest method is to take a bird feeder and wrap chicken wire around it, standing off of 6-8 inches - the birds can't flap their wings inside the perimeter while for the squirrels it's just business as usual).
||Is there a difference in static electricity between
birds and squirrels? Maybe have some kind of
insulated perch so the birds don't ground out and
retain their static electric charge when landing?
||Probably not. Yea, I'm pretty stuck. Air curtain is
best I have at this point. Excuse, me, worst I have
||What's the frequency response of a squirrel ear vs
a bird ear? Wonder if there's something there you
||Do birds stay away from things that vibrate? Seems
like they should be tuned into that so they don't
land on branches moving too much in the breeze or
something where as squirrels are all about moving
around undulating branches with their little
||Worst solution: I propose to invert the bird feeder and use a vacuum system to keep the bird seed up against the feeder. Squirrel can hang from wire mesh on sides to reach under for seeds.
||Best solution: Fill garden variety bird feeder with acorns!
||The vacuum is a new first place for me.
||Elastic band powered swat bat which is activated by a small mesh of pins triggered by bird claws but not squirrel paws through a complex mechanical linkage system
||Or cameras and image recognition algorithms to swat birds away but not swat squirrels
||//Do birds stay away from things that vibrate? //
||Sadly no - consider wind turbines.
||Yes wind turbines tend to stay far away from sources of vibration - they don't come down to the motorways and factories, they prefer going up hills or out to sea in my experience.
||Like it! I've been messing about with a piece of paper for an
hour or so, trying to work out how to make the Newcomon
engine less efficient without doing so deliberately. It's not