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Squirrels were stealing my bird seed so I solved the problem with mechanical engineering 🙂
Here is an explanation of the illusion dish thing!- https://demos.smu.ca/index.php/demos/optics/69-mirage-mirror
Here is a link to the illusion dish (not sponsored 🙂 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0718XCG7F/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_D9PYEbC85X14F
*MUSIC*
0:02 - Arrow (Instrumental) - Andrew Applepie http://andrewapplepie.com/
0:27 - Kalimba Jam - Blue Wednesday https://soundcloud.com/bluewednesday/
3:21 - Zambo - Devil in Disguise https://danijel-zambo.bandcamp.com/track/devil-in-disguise-2
3:47 - Cereal Killa - Blue Wednesday https://soundcloud.com/bluewednesday/
5:28 - J. Thompson - Real Quick Lovin' https://www.amazon.com/Real-Quick-Lovin/dp/B0010YGE3W
5:39 - New Shoes - Blue Wednesday https://soundcloud.com/bluewednesday/
7:51- Chi- Ponder- https://www.prodbyponder.com/5-free-beats32029775
8:31 - Marimba Idea - Blue Wednesday https://soundcloud.com/bluewednesday/
9:25 - Josef Falkenskold - Tiny Tumble https://www.epidemicsound.com/artists/josef-falkenskold
19:07 - Nik- Ponder- https://www.prodbyponder.com/5-free-beats32029775

This is a bird feeder, and everything to my left is my attempt at making it squirrel proof. If they want the birdseed, they will first need to pass through what is basically an eight-part ninja warrior obstacle course for squirrels this course is extremely challenging. It is not for the timid of heart, but out of the gate, i will admit that in hindsight that i completely underestimated my adversary. Now, if you're wondering why i would go through all this trouble, when did you go back eight weeks ago, when i found myself stuck at home and very bored, so i installed a bird feeder and decided to become a bird watcher and it was just so lovely Until they showed up now, luckily, my bird feeder had a wire cage around it, big enough for the birds to slip inside but small enough to prevent the squirrels from getting the food, and that worked really well until right here.

For me, this was like the moment in jurassic park when they realized the velociraptors, can open door handles and once the door was open, it was clear this wasn't their first rodeo. They basically cleared this whole tube of bird seed. By the end of the day, mind you, this bird feeder was advertised as being squirrel proof, so i bought another squirrel-proof bird feeder to replace it. It's got this outer cage suspended by some springs, and so if a bird comes and lands here, it doesn't weigh that much and it has access to the seeds.

However, if a squirrel comes they'll grab onto this cage, its weight will force the springs down, thereby preventing access to the seeds. I have no idea how the squirrels could possibly outsmart this, but let's see - and this one worked exactly as intended - you can see the birds love it, but when the squirrel comes along the cage shifts down and now all the seed ports are covered up every time They tried it was the same results, however. The next morning this guy manages to unclip the springs that hold the cage up, which means the cage stays in the lowered position where it blocks all the seat. Openings problem with that is now they can get to the lid, but this bird feeder lid doesn't hinge open to give direct access, so he goes with a different tactic where he now has access to all the birdseed he wants, and so i decided i would try One more bird feeder design, okay, wow.

It almost feels intentional at this point, this one's supposed to work. Well because it's got this baffle, which is supposed to keep the squirrels from just coming straight down and getting to the seeds and, more importantly, there's no way for them to rip this off. We'll see this one debuted to similar results, as he hangs by a few toes. This is when i really started to gain an appreciation for what they were capable of.

It definitely seemed like this bird feeder was their favorite, okay, yeah they're flexing on me for sure, and at this point a plan was forming in my head, but just to be thorough, i moved the post away from the fence and i can't say i was surprised When they just climbed it, nor was, i surprised to see they could shimmy up and down a small metal pole or even a large one for that matter, and whether they could climb a certain pole. Material was a moot point anyways. Because of this look at this. These guys are basically freaking, rodent-sized, simone biles and on some level this is what it felt like when someone stole a package from my porch that didn't belong to them, and i harnessed that indignation spending a year designing the glitter bomb bait package, hello, complete with special Fragrances, oh, if i could design a package to deter thieves, could i design a bird feeder to deter squirrels, and so, after a couple weeks of brainstorming, designing and building with my buddy john? We put it all together in this 20-second build montage.

Here are the basic elements for starters: here's where i've placed their favorite bird feeder at the end of the course and to sweeten the deal right below that there's a trap door and if they step here, it releases a butt ton of walnuts and unfurls. Some celebratory banners: why walnuts? I'm glad you asked i'm using walnuts, because over the course of a week i put out a buffet of seven different nuts and seeds and all four times i repeated the experiment. Walnuts were always the one they ate. First, what's great about placing this here: is it levels the playing field as the birds can fly up and get as much food as they want anytime? They need it.

The squirrels, however, will have to work for it, because the only way to make it to this platform is if they work their way through. My eight part, ninja warrior obstacle course, which all starts right here. This is the only platform on the course that has a pull that isn't covered in slippery stuff, which means this is where they have to climb up to enter the course if they try and get up any other way, they can't keep a good grip, and they Just slide back down, so the first challenge is the bridge of instability. Now this may look easy, but the trick is it attaches at a single point on each end and from a physics standpoint that makes it no different than trying to crawl across a tightrope.

It's the same deceptive principle with that one carnival game, that's so impossible. I broke it down in another video where i used physics to show which carnival games were basically scams and the science on how to beat them. Next up the maze of a thousand corridors, this one's a bit more cerebral, but if they make it through that, it will bring them to the pitchfork tumblers, which are inspired by the show wipeout. But, unlike wipeout, i should point out that all these contraptions are squirrel friendly and even with a little back force, they will break away and stop spinning now, if they can make it past the pitchfork tumblers of treachery.

They come to one of my personal favorites, the home wrecker. I put her into attempt to scroll to lose focus on the real prize at the end of the course, because this pad has a pressure sensor underneath it and it connects to a microcontroller that has a relay that connects to a solenoid that connects to a pneumatic Piston that connects back to this platform with the pressure sensor, and so if they stand here for more than three seconds, they've got to start the course all over again. Next up is the slinky bridge of deception. I've suspended a juicy walnut right in the middle, but there's no way this bridge will support their weight, so it'll be interesting to see how they approach it.

The sixth challenge is called the tourist trap. It's actually a bit of a reward for making it this far. If the squirrel sticks their head through this board, my wife painted it's just a photo op. They can hang on the wall of their tiny squirrel nest i'll place a walnut here as an incentive for them not to miss this unique opportunity.

The pen ultimate challenge are the quad steps of great elevation. This is taken straight from ninja warrior, and this is super tricky, because these pads are all totally smooth and placed at a 45 degree incline and now for the last challenge. At this point, they are a mere few feet away from their ultimate goal, but if they're not careful, they'll have to deal with the orbital assist platform aka the final countdown aka, it's not a catapult, it's a squirrel pulse, which means they now have to go back And start all the way over from the beginning. Now, if they want to avoid that fate, they just need to stand on this pad for less than three seconds.

But once again, i've placed a diversion here. This one projects an optical illusion of anything you place in the bottom of this dish. It's actually super trippy and looks even more impressive in real life, because the projected image is 3d they're, like nine books on amazon, and i put a link that explains the juicy physics of how they work in the video description. Now, with regards to squirrel safety, i know i seem to have this reputation of improvised high-speed projectiles, and so this one might worry a few animal lovers out there, including my wife.

We have five pets and one child and the child was the only one. I had a say in so rest assured: i can adjust the pressure on the piston and we'll be staying way below any launch force that could hurt any of our adorable backyard contestants and so, finally, after making through all that we're back here at the world's most Satisfying bird feeder as far as i'm concerned, if they make it here, they've earned the right to gorge next to the birds for as long as they want, and so after nearly a month of prep work, the course was officially open for business. They could smell the walnuts at the final station and you could see the gears turning because right above that was their favorite bird feeder. And so before long we had our first contender that didn't exactly go as planned.

So rick decides to regroup, speaking of which that's rick. There are a total of four competitors that will be attempting the course first up is rick and he weighs 500 grams. I know this because he's actually standing on a custom-made scale. Rick is very clever as you'll see here in a minute, but he also gets spooked easily.

Next up is marty, he's basically indistinguishable from rick, rick and marty are inseparable and pretty much spend all their time together as a pair. Our third contender is frank, also coming in around 500 grams he's very gutsy he's also kind of dumb. Finally, we've got my personal favorite fat gus he's just really charming and will strike a pose if he sees a camera. He also really likes to eat and he tips the scales at an impressive 800 grams, while most of the squirrels are kind of particular before making a selection and then gracefully leaping away fat gus just goes for it.

Hands-Free just makes himself real comfortable here. He is laying out with a light snack from the bird feeder. I mean you can't fault the guy for just clearly appreciating a good meal. So now that you know our four contenders, let's get back to rick, so he hops back on and he's actually doing better than his first attempt just barely.

This is the best because he's like okay, i got this never mind. Well, maybe i no! I definitely don't - and this was the exact moment i realized i just might be outmatched here. Marty was watching rick and after a quick dip of his toes in the water, adopts his strategy right out of the gate so close, but an excellent recovery and fat gus. Perhaps predictably comes up a little short, which brings us to the maze of a thousand corridors which, to be honest, they mastered this one pretty quickly.

Here's a solid run from fat, gus and now for the pitchfork tumblers of treachery marty was like yeah. That's a hard pass fat gus is just like abort frank is just like nope, then he's like wait, a second still nope. Then marty flies in real hot over the top. He didn't make it through, but that's partial credit as far as i'm concerned, and then here's fat gus with my favorite attempt by far and then frank shows no fear which helps him pull up.

This near flawless run and finally, smart rick, surgically weaves his way through essentially untouched, and i should mention the squirrels were most active from 6 to 10 am so. Every morning i've been getting up before the sunrise to start filming from in my house, like one of those camouflaged nature photographers only like a suburbanized version. I've also had a handful of streaming cameras - rolling 24 7, which has allowed me to make such discoveries as we have the world's worst guard dog. Thanks for the help pal now back to the home, wrecker you can see.

Rick is instinctively suspicious of this gold digger and only for a brief moment puts his full weight on the platform. I told you he was smart. His buddy marty. On the other hand, she is a cruel mistress and because i know my wife is going to ask me no, this will not hurt the squirrel for two reasons: number one.

They are amazing, like cats and always land on their feet and two they themselves were jumping from this height all the time and in some cases much higher. In fact, squirrels are one of the few mammals that can survive a fall from any height because they make their terminal velocity so low. You can see it right here. They make their body as flat as possible, then put their tail back to increase, drag.

They basically become their own parachute and then right before they land they pull in and fully extend their arms and legs to act as shock absorbing landing gear. This is so cool now back to the course where even smart rick eventually lets his guard down, which is exactly when she strikes, but just like all the other obstacles so far after a day or two they'd mastered it in this case, even disregarding her offering of A fresh walnut now on to the slinky bridge of deception, and this was the sleeper obstacle in my book. That is not a large gap which they can easily jump, but having the slinky there just threw them off. Somehow you can see how much frank is struggling here and he's the brave one and rick only jumps when marty shows up for emotional support, but like all the obstacles so far after a day or two they'd mastered it now on to our third to last obstacle.

The tourist trap - and this one was just a freaking delight - a little peanut butter really did the trick here now here comes fat, gus, and i mean how fat gus is this. He sees the camera and he's like paints me like one of your french squirrels yeah. No, no takers, all right, here's another classic gus where he looks at the camera, wait a second play that back and freeze zoom enhance well turns out fat gus is not a dude and he's pregnant, which meant i was suddenly feeling real uncomfortable about all those weight. Comments so after a bit of a pivot to smooth things over, we soldiered on to the quad steps of great elevation.

Frank comes in rather confident almost to his demise, but he pulls off the smooth recovery. So after not much time at all, they were looking pretty good here. In fact, one morning i noticed marty totally skipped the last step altogether, which i took as a challenge, and so i removed the middle step to see what they would do and who else, but fantastic gus, let's slow that down a bit they're such amazing jumpers. So i suppose the quick master here wasn't a surprise.

I mean this right. Here is probably a 10 foot jump and here's some classic brave but dumb frank he'd, already entered the course normally and made it to the home wrecker at least a dozen times. By this point, and yet for some reason he decides his 12 foot jump is his best course of action. Smart rick was the first one to enter the course.

So, in the end, after about a week of effort, it was fitting he was the one to make it to the jackpot first and he's so stoked. He apparently wants to run the whole course in reverse. In hindsight, we probably should have made the jackpot a little quieter. Here's marty, as always not far behind he's also a bit flighty, as you know, which worked against him here, because down below fantastic gus ever the opportunist comes through with the real stroke of brilliance.

But pretty soon marty comes back like um, i'm the one who kind of earned that and then fantastic gus is like you snoozy loose sucka, and might i just say fantastic us when you sit like that, you don't look an ounce over 700 grams. Eventually, they learned that sound was a good thing and they'd quickly return for their reward before fantastic guests got any ideas, so here's a single camera shot of a full run and by the end, all of them could do the full course in less than 40 seconds And while we're watching, you might be wondering what happened to the squirrela put. Unfortunately, they didn't really fall for my illusion much, but i'm about to show you the two times they did and as a promise to my wife, i turned the pressure to only 40 full power, so the acceleration the squirrel would feel is about half a g which Is 10 times less than a typical roller coaster. Additionally, i never turned on either the home record trap door or the launch platform.

When i wasn't actively watching from inside my house, where i had a manual override button because as safe as it was something about launching fantastic gus, just didn't feel right now, what you're about to see is gon na look pretty chaotic, but when we check the slow-mo, Amazingly i'll show you how the squirrel is totally in control pretty much the whole time all right now. Here's a second angle also, even if you don't trust my calculations, i can assure you that the squirrels did not care in both launch cases. They were back up on the course in like five minutes: here's the slow-mo and see if you can spot the two critical things he does to make sure he lands feet down. Did you catch it? The first critical moment is right.

Here, he's already done. The predictive math and he's locked his head on the spot, where he plans to land and now his head will not lose that lock the whole way down. What's crazy is the time it takes him to do all the predictive math to know exactly where he will land and to lock his head is 300 milliseconds. That's exactly this long, literally less than the blink of an eye that blows my mind, but if you think about it, it makes sense.

These reactions would have evolved to be razor sharp if you live your life in the trees, constantly making split second decisions now, besides picking a landing spot with his head. The second trick is with his arms when he wants to keep his upper body from rotating. He has his arms out, but the moment he wants to rotate his upper body quickly. He tucks them in and then when he wants to stop rotating, he extends them out again.

This is straight up conservation of angular momentum. It's the same trick. Ice skaters use basically bring your limbs in if you want to rotate fast, extend them out. If you want to slow the rotation.

My buddy destin from smartereveryday also made a video analyzing, how cats always land on their feet and they do the exact same two tricks. The head target lock and bringing lens into rotate and out to stop rotation. Here's the second launch - and this may look like pure luck in real time, but the slow-mo tells a different story in that amount of time. He's already made a slight lateral push in that direction and locked his landing target with his head.

We know from the previous clip he can rotate his body to any orientation, but he doesn't in this case because he sees his small push, has already aligned him for the perfect landing. That's just so cool, and so after those two physics demonstrations, i disabled, both the launcher and the home record trap door and just let them enjoy the course in peace. As far as i was concerned, they had earned it plus after spending a month. Together, we were sort of brose by this point.

If they saw me coming out to work, they would certainly jump away, but then they just quickly be right back and sadly, all good things must come to an end and because i didn't want them to develop an unhealthy dependence on my handouts. After about a week of free reign, i took down the course, but in its place i put up a specialized squirrel-sized picnic table every morning. This door opens to release just a few walnuts as a little treat to remind them of our good times together. Although i had to laugh that after all this, somehow i didn't anticipate on day, one frank would immediately try and figure out and partially succeed in finding a way to beat the system like everything else, though they quickly caught on and now on, some mornings, i'll catch Them just waiting for the daily ration chilling patiently on the bench seat, that is everyone, but fantastic gus.

Don't ever change buddy. When i started this two month long adventure trying to bird watch, i had no idea. I would enjoy squirrel watching so much more. It's also made me realize that, even amongst the structures and pavement and power lines, how interesting nature can be in a single, suburban backyard.

If you just really stop to look, even the plants are amazing. I had no idea that his vines grow. They spin around. Looking for something to grab onto, i didn't anticipate the wide variety of animals that use fences as inner yard highways to get around as a substitute for all the trees that existed before.

We got here even little interactions like this spider extending his life with this very timely leap into the unknown were just so delightful to see, but of all the animals. I can definitively say now that squirrels are my absolute favorite and they're, certainly a more formidable adversary than porch pirates, they're kind of adorable, incredibly, crafty curious by nature, athletic and persistent turns out. Squirrels can live to be 20 years old, and so i like to think that someday fantastic gus will bring his grand squirrels to the fence and regale them with tales of cowboys and courage and legendary walnut piles. You.

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15 thoughts on “Backyard squirrel maze 1.0- ninja warrior course”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Sawyer Dods says:

    This is actually my fav video form him top 10 of all time

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Coma Tose says:

    Even a squirrel can think, remember and experience joy.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars music fan says:

    Thank you so much for this video and breaking down how incredibly agile and smart these squirrels are when it comes to getting some food they like.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars chicken nugget says:

    a lot cheaper if he just put peppers in the bird food

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Tean Somonin says:

    I didn't expect that the squrriel could jump high😳

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mary Rose Lalli says:

    The squirrels are kind of scary how they outsmart the feeders

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Hung Nguyen says:

    HI HI HI HI HI HI HI HI HI HI HI HI HI HI HI HI Edit: Yes I mean HI not HIHI

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Alyssa Stram, MD says:

    ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡ this is the greatest thing I have ever seen. Thank you

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Paxus says:

    STILL AWESOME. By the way, Joe Rogan was talking about this video on his podcast.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Chamaluvsu says:

    Imagine if one squirrel just jumped from the fence on the nuts and mark rober just goes bruh

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ashley Rose says:

    They’re sooo smart so why do they run in the road in front of a car 😭

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars bg hyannis says:

    i litterlly just realized that he named rick and Marty after RICK AND MORTY

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars M. K. says:

    Since squirrels are apparently incapable of passing the mirror test, does that mean that they are not able to learn from the experiences of their peers?

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Hola! LaiX_playz says:

    I just kicked this video not knowing it WOULD BE AMAZING

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars LeavingIt Blank says:

    Wait… did I miss where you show how they react to the 3D illusionary walnut? (Or was that the squirrelapult part?)

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