[Tweeters] Drones and Birds

Jeremy Schwartz jschwartz1124 at gmail.com
Wed Jul 24 14:13:43 PDT 2019


Hi Tweeters!

I was out birding during lunch today at one of my usual urban spots; a
wetland surrounded by low and wide office buildings in the Canyon Park area
north of Bothell. For the last year or so, I've noted an annoying but
high-flying remote-controlled drone making buzzy passes over the wetland.
I've mistaken it for a bird more times than I'm willing to admit.

I'd never seen the pilot until today. He was a guy in his late 20s or so,
piloting it from the single paved path that bisects this urban wetland. He
was surrounded by what I can only assume were coworkers or passersby, all
marveling at this piece of technology.

The drone was equipped with a camera, and he appeared intent on getting
Planet-Earth style views of the large flock of Mallards doing their Mallard
thing in the open expanse of water near the paved path.

How close he was getting to the Mallards made me extremely uncomfortable.
The drone was at some points no more than 15 feet above the water and the
ducks. However, I was unsure about how to approach him to constructively
share my concerns. Based on the bits of discussion I heard, he and his
audience sounded like they were trying to be respectful. But it still just
felt to me like the birds were being disturbed.

After about 10-15 minutes, he flew the drone higher and walked away along
path, onlookers in tow. I never did confront him. I'm asking the Tweeters
group for a bit of advice: How should I have shared my concerns?
Additionally, has anyone else witnessed people with drones interacting with
birds while out in the field?

Thanks, and keep watching the skies,

Jeremy
Lake Forest Park
jschwartz1124 AT gmail DOT com
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