Drone disturbs peace of nuisance Canada geese

NCPR has looked at efforts to discourage, or “haze”, nuisance birds in the past, as with crows in Watertown, or Canada Geese at Ottawa’s Experimental Farm.

A radio-contolled hexacopter can be pretty intimidating. Photo: unten44, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

A radio-controlled hexacopter can be pretty intimidating. Photo: unten44, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Here’s another tactic that utilizes a remote controlled helicopter, as reported by David Reevely for the Ottawa Citizen (with a video). Orléans-area Ottawa City Councillor, Bob Monette, is pleased with a new trial project that seems to effectively discourage what used to be as many as 140 geese congregating and pooping at Petrie Island beaches:

“Now we’re down to anywhere from 15 to 20 on a daily basis,” Monette said. The weapon the city’s deployed is a “hexcopter,” a remote-controlled chopper with rotors that can hover, soar, circle and — most importantly — scoot along just above the ground, scaring the bejesus out of dozing geese. It’s operated by contractor Steve Wambolt, a former IT worker who launched his own business after one too many layoffs.

This story was picked up by Fox news in the U.S. and the Telegraph in the U.K. – probably because the term “drone strikes” was used in some versions of the story. An eye-catching notion, no? That placid Canada is calling down drone strikes against geese.

Meanwhile NPR reports that a small town in Colorado hopes to make a point - and raise some money – with a ballot measure authorizing the sale of hunting licenses to shoot at drones. But in this case of an Ottawa beach patrol, the term “drone” is journalistic over-kill. It’s a small helicopter fitted up with lights and sound, not explosives.

Radio-controlled models have been popular for decades. The hobby requires a certain learning curve and the equipment can be expensive. Only a few years ago, flying RC helicopters required even more advanced skills and could be quite costly. These days the range and cost of what’s available is getting wider and cheaper all the time. Here’s more from a site devoted to RC helicopters.

While improvements can be pretty exciting for the flier, that also means we can expect to see more and more of these things in the sky, doing everything from harassing birds to snapping photos.

Canada geese may not be the only ones annoyed by a proliferation of gizmos that buzz, fly and “haze.”

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5 Comments on “Drone disturbs peace of nuisance Canada geese”

  1. Pete Klein says:

    Next thing you know will be a lawyer suing to protect the privacy of the geese.

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  2. Ken Hall says:

    Let me attempt to ensure that I understand this situation which is considered to be of such import that it requires intervention by the god appointed overlords of spaceship Earth. A flock/gaggle/crowd of as many as 140 each Canada geese (natives of the region) are considered to be interloping “nuisance birds” which interfere with the enjoyment of the region by the homo sapiens (NOT native to the region) whom specialize in cutting down forests (need that wood to build with), clearing the forests (need that land to grow homo sapiens food upon), mining, drilling, damming, road/city/town village building, ., ., ., and polluting the Earth ad nauseum because of their god given right to have their way in any manner they see fit with the Earth.

    Apparently 140 geese pooping on an island their ancestors have likely pooped upon for perhaps millions of years is unacceptable but humans laying waste to vast areas of the Earth’s land masses and her oceans in the past ten thousand years (give or take) is acceptable.

    Get a grip Public Radio, start standing tall for things that really matter to the survival of spaceship Earth’s current flora and fauna. How about some, nay, a lot of articles about the absolute insanity of the ravaging of the Earth’s mineral, energy and so called renewable resources as well as the destruction of vast numbers of the Earth’s current crop of fauna and flora at the hands of the 7+billion humans. On the off hand chance that it has escaped your notice the Earth is experiencing it’s sixth extinction event, some call it the Holocene extinction, as we speak. It is estimated to have begun about 10000 years ago (give or take) when the population of humans started to accelerate coincident with the invention of agriculture.

    Is a bit of goose poop equivalent to the massive mess and destruction taking place at the Alberta tar sands take a gander at this photo: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/57/Syncrude_mildred_lake_plant.jpg/800px-Syncrude_mildred_lake_plant.jpg

    Hot debate. Like/Dislike Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  3. It's Still All Bush's Fault says:

    The last statement of the post is prophetic.

    Is there any concern given to the collateral damage? It’s unlikely that the geese will be the sole victim of this program.

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  4. Lucy Martin says:

    Re: the comments from Ken and It’s still all Bush’s Fault…my weekend posts attempt to run the gamut between light entertainment and informational or thought pieces. Sometimes the lines blur so readers can take whichever direction they prefer.

    Though I hope otherwise, I often worry humans have ruined space ship earth. If so, the supposedly-important issues we busily fret about are the equivalent of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Other times I think, “Naw. It’s a strong planet, able to hold its own.”

    Still other times I think: “Well, if we do muck it up and destroy things as we know them, that’ll be tragic, but not final. Some form of life will go on. Super intelligent cockroaches will one day study dinosaurs and humans as equivalent biological experiments that failed.”

    Getting back to deck chairs though, in terms of things that fly and spy, I really feel that needs more thought.

    Between the NSA, satellites, Google imaging and drones – right down to little RC helicopters – how do we plan to balance the contradictory urges to see & know all with the equally strong preference to not have our whole lives involuntarily discovered and put on display?

    Is there any “right to privacy” that can be defined and defended against curiosity (Google images), terrorist-justified paranoia (NSA spying) and your neighbor’s kid (helicopter with camera)?

    To be especially pointed, if the 4th Amendment isn’t up to the task where does that leave matters?

    It is so much easier to just joke about geese and poop-strewn beaches, isn’t it?

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  5. Marlo Stanfield says:

    I think this is the one thing Saranac Lake hasn’t tried. Maybe we’ll see one of these buzzing the Petrova field and the shores of Lake Flower sometime soon.

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