Drone for the Holidays?
There is a reason the DEC doesn’t allow hunting/shooting game from atvs. A human form moving through the woods alarms most creatures. A human sitting on an atv can drive up almost to within throwing distance of many animals- they don’t recognise the human threat. (Think safari videos of gaggles of humans sitting in a Land Rover, driving within almost touching distances of lions in Africa.) Animals aren’t alarmed by humans disguised by the overall form of something they are placed inside. Hunting blinds are a good example.
So I imagined, that a drone would not alarm much of our wildlife- as it wouldn’t appear in anyway human, and I would be able to get ‘up close and personal’ with many of the animals that visit us.
As everything looks great on a computer screen, we went to a store to have a closer look at the different models. It is amazing what is available for comparatively reasonable money, considering the HD video camera and the navigational technology. Drones can now follow you around like pets- hovering above you and following you around (and avoiding obstacles all on their own) to take ‘selfies’ of you as you mountain bike, surf big waves or paddle thru rivers. The technology is unbelievable and just what we wanted for our wildlife photography!
We did our research and went to a ‘big box’ store to see the different models they had to sell, and to make some kind of evaluation. We had almost settled on one when I heard the sales person say, “Too bad that drones get attacked so often by eagles and hawks. You need to consider that in the ‘flying environment’ (very rural) you described to me. ”
Well, this was a revelation! I had never heard that and wanted to know more. After all, With the growing number of bald eagles we referenced in our post http://www.countryforcity.com/bald-eagle.html (and our perennial red tailed hawks and owls), sending a $1,000+ drone on a one-way suicide mission for a photograph seemed stupid! When I researched this fact, a whole new world opened up for me. YouTube offers numerous short videos of eagles flying in, and they get bigger and bigger and the last thing you see are the claws. This is the end of an expensive drone!
But there is also another very interesting side to drones. I learned that in the Netherlands the police have trained eagles to attack drones and have formed an “Eagle Squad”. The police know that drones are used for drug trafficking and they also use the trained eagles to fight possible terrorism. There is growing concern in law enforcement that consumer-grade drones can be used for terrorism. Trained birds of prey are cheap and highly effective defensive measures.
“In an attempt to prevent the attacks, the mining company resorted to camouflaging the drones as baby eagles, but the technique only worked temporarily, namely for 50 flights. The eagles were incredibly smart and soon woke up to the trickery. They are extremely territorial and considered the drones a threat.” A headline in the paper read: Eagle 9, drone 0. A loss of almost $100,000.
So, if you want to make a child happy with a drone for your backyard, it probably will work very well. They are great tools to teach hand-eye coordination. My wish for a drone to take impressive wildlife videos, may however, be more carefully considered.