Arduino Technology
Ask MAKE: How to Simulate a Hatching Pigeon Egg

Rick asks:

I race homing pigeons for a hobby. Motivating them to come home quickly is very important. I want to simulate the random chipping (clicking / egg movement) associated with a hatching egg. I already have plastic pigeon eggs that separate in half like a plastic Easter egg to put this device into, but I don’t know where to get the device. Any help would be appreciated.

Now there’s an interesting question! While it’s hard to know exactly how a hatching pigeon egg sounds and moves while it’s hatching without gathering data from an actual hatching egg, there are a couple of ways to go about this. One possibility would be to simply glue a vibrating “pager” motor to the inside of the egg. This way, when powered on, the motor will vibrate the egg. Using a microcontroller like an Arduino or ATtiny you can use PWM (pulse width modulation) to have it move the egg realistically.

Photo by Flickr user Oskay

Another method would be to use a couple of miniature hobby servos to move a  small platform that the egg is attached to. This could be used in conjunction with the pager motor to provide more realistic movement and feel for the bird. Again, a microcontroller can be used to control the movement, allowing you to tailor it to your (and the pigeon’s) liking.

Have any more ideas to share with Rick? Please post them in the comments!

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In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

View more articles by Michael Colombo