Though animals may seems simple compared to humans in many ways, some of their instinctive behaviors indicate an understanding of the weather and seasons that we don’t entirely comprehend. Though it’s well-known that birds migrate south during the winter, and that supposedly how long winter will last corresponds to whether or not a groundhog sees its shadow, this hacker had another idea. Perhaps the number of nuts taken out of a feeder by Eurasian red squirrels correlates with upcoming winter conditions.
In order to test this hypothesis, a nine-year-old squirrel feeder was outfitted with a Raspberry Pi. It can control a webcam for video monitoring, and uses a reed switch to count how many times the little rodents come to harvest food, displaying visits on an LED readout. A standalone ESP8266 module is also employed to help with monitoring duties.
Code for the build is available on GitHub, or you can check out squirrels dining in the video seen below.