When Drones Attack

At first it seems as if the raptor-versus-drone videos are a win for the birds. Rah, rah, nature over technology and all that. I’ve seen about half a dozen now, though, and don’t think it’s good for them at all. Which is why I won’t link to any here: publicity begets copycats, drone-heads eager for the confrontation because it will draw viewers, the precious currency of the internet. (Witness the ghastly let’s-scare-the-hell-out-of-the-cat-with-a-cucumber thing, which is cat-stress-inducing entertainment for armchair sadists.)

Since raptors are territorial birds, drones seem to be perceived as a challenge. The birds must defend their air. So although the videos suggest that the machine is being attacked because you get its point of view, it’s really the drone which is the aggressor. Raptors have enough hazards to deal with already in the human-controlled world, like rat poison, high-tension wires, windmills, glass, and etc.

Since raptors live by their talons, hitting a hovering machine won’t be good for their feet.

Sure, there are legitimate remote-sensing applications for drones, but that’s not what the majority of people are using them for. For these people, it’s another gee-whiz toy, a piece of technological corporate commodity to be used without thought or consequence.

Drones aren’t supposed to be flown from city parks, but there are specific model aircraft zones that can be used. Floyd Bennett Field, part of Gateway NRA, has another model airplane field: the annoying buzz of the planes there — think machines a yard long, not hand-held models — is a constant in summer. Luckily, the sports into this steroidal childishness can’t take the snow and cold, so the big birds that may visit FBF in winter, like Snowy Owls and Rough-legged Hawks, are generally unmolested.

It seems there are no specifically anti-drone laws in the city, but operators using them in the streets (yup!) and parks could, and should, be charged with public endangerment as they are flown overhead.

1 Response to “When Drones Attack”


  1. 1 crystalhrogers December 5, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Something I had not known or thought about…. Sad. I bet a lot of people doing this are not really aware of what they are doing either.


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