Animals vs. Drones

It's not just humans who dislike the small flying objects. YouTube has videos of drones being stared at quizzically by a moose, harassed by a raven, attacked by a hawk, butted by a ram, knocked out of the sky by a chimpanzee (who planned the whole thing) and a goose, and punched out of the sky by a kangaroo.

And bears hate them, even if they don't actually attack.

Posted on September 9, 2015 at 1:30 PM • 19 Comments


AJWMSeptember 9, 2015 1:50 PM

I suspect it's actually the buzzing of the rotors rather than the flying which is annoying. Seriously, they tend to sound like a swarm of giant angry mosquitoes or bees.

If the things flew relatively silently, like birds, it probably wouldn't bother the animals so much -- although it would seriously freak out humans worried about the abuse of these things for surveillance and voyeurism (do I repeat myself?).

Emma BullSeptember 9, 2015 2:16 PM

After considering my response to the video of the ram, I'm convinced I'm a bad, bad person. [wipes away tears of laughter]

d33tSeptember 9, 2015 2:19 PM

Eventually drones will have more rights than animals or people do. Edible drones are also on the horizon. That will please more animals when they do get a hold of them. Gingerbread and birdseed drones sound delicious.

RobSeptember 9, 2015 2:43 PM

if one of those things was buzzing over my head, I'd Be tempted to do the same thing. Hats off to the critters, and the guy in Kentucky that blew one out of the sky. The mini drones are more intrusive than a nosy neighbor with binoculars.

Nick PSeptember 9, 2015 4:11 PM

@ Emma Bull

The ram video was hilarious. Joker knocks the drone out of the sky. Then, when it sees the drone again, it makes clear that there will be no rest for noisy drones. Nothing will hold its head back from it until it stays down. Not even a tree branch haha.

Then there were these fools.

albertSeptember 9, 2015 7:13 PM

Those drones have unguarded rotors, very dangerous for man or beast, and should be outlawed. Don't think they couldn't take your eye out.
It was fun to see the animals take 'em down. They are responding to harassment, just like that guy in Kentucky. If you ever 'catch' one, demand proof of ownership. Usually, they'll need the video to prove you got it, which will also prove the harassment. Birds will defend their nests against any threat, including drones. They don't care if a douchebag is operating it, or not:)
. .. . .. o

GodelSeptember 9, 2015 7:49 PM

Regardless of drone aspect, the owner of the ram was dumb, should have had the ram at least partially dehorned for safety's sake.

BTW, i think I saw a piece recently where having a drone follow a large animal (polar bear?) caused a strong stress reaction, even though none was visible to a casual observer. From memory the animal's heart rate went sky high.

ThothSeptember 9, 2015 8:44 PM

What happens if you upgrade your pets (like equipping blinding lasers) and use them to attack unwanted drones ? Technically it is your pets who attacked the drones ?

Dirk PraetSeptember 10, 2015 6:56 AM

@ Harry Johnston

The article about bears is behind a paywall, by the way. (Unless you're in the US, IIRC.)

No problem over here. Have you tried a VPN ? Check out the VPN Gate project by the University of Tsukuba in Japan. No cost, no user registration.

deLaBoetieSeptember 10, 2015 9:04 AM

Nice fantasies that you can actually take drones out if they are harassing you - but this won't normally be possible and shooting at them is normally very dangerous. Getting redress of any kind will be virtually impossible because they do not carry any form of identification. I thought that some of the operators were irresponsible in their attitude to wild animals because they were clearly disturbing them and this can lead to significant disruption (it's already known that road noise, for example, can decrease bird populations and breeding).

The thing that worries me even more is the deployment of drones in a domestic "standard" LE surveillance and enforcement scenario. When they need to "retire" the current models of drones from extra-judicial killing in the middle east, you can bet they will have them flying over our skies to keep us all safe....

albertSeptember 10, 2015 11:40 AM

@Dirk, @Harry,

That VPNgate looks cool. Judging from the list of hosted countries, I'll bet the NSA has a special section assigned just for it:)

I still favor directed, pulsed ECM. Directed IR could take out the camera, but beam power might be a problem.

. .. . .. o

tyco bassSeptember 10, 2015 5:27 PM

I took a hot-air balloon ride over Norfolk some years ago. The balloonist had a map of local farms he had to steer around, because farm animals grew quite disturbed, even when the gas burners were off and the balloon was was totally silent, even when the balloon's shadow was nowhere near the farm.

rgaffSeptember 10, 2015 5:56 PM

@tyco bass

I thought the only "steering" those things had was up and down, not side to side... (note sometimes different wind layers could blow in different directions)

Dirk PraetSeptember 10, 2015 7:11 PM

@ albert

Judging from the list of hosted countries, I'll bet the NSA has a special section assigned just for it:)

The Chinese - who are waging an all-out war on VPN's - are probably more worried by this kind of projects than the good folks at the NSA are. Do note that it may not be the best choice to hide your identity from state actors because they do keep connection logs. Since all relays are run by volunteers, there are no SLA's and you may need to switch connections from day to day when they go down or disappear. It is however a cheap and handy solution when connecting over public wifi to check your mail, RSS feeds and the like. Or to make your ip address appear to be coming from somewhere else as to bypass YouTube and similar geo-location related restrictions.

tyco bassSeptember 10, 2015 7:18 PM

@ rgaff

I think you're right. The balloonist had a long wind and weather chat with headquarters before we took off (storms were threatening), and I guess he must have slowed and speeded ascent as needed, using the existing wind to avoid certain farms at lower altitudes. Horses and chickens seemed especially alarmed by us.

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