Confirmed: Drone props will kill Purple Martins

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-=DKC=-
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Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:26 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX
Martin Colony History: ................
2019: 11 pairs
2018: 11 pairs - 43 fledged
2017: 4 pairs - 17 fledged

Confirmed: Drone props will kill Purple Martins

Postby -=DKC=- » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:22 am

Came across this while researching wildlife vs drone laws. Drones are going to become an issue for many Purple Martin landlords.
While doing a photo session today I observed a Purple Martin flying close to the P4 when all of a sudden the Martin looked like it was trying to land on the side of my P4 while it hovered. Before I could do anything the bird was struck by the props - the bird went to the ground not to move again and the P4 shuddered a bit and continued to hover like nothing had happened. Upon landing I inspected the P4 and did not detect any damage. It didn't appear that the bird was attacking the P4 only curious as the bird was hovering beside the P4 before the strike for a moment.
phantompilots.com/threads/p4-and-observed-bird-strike.114180/

More PUMAs attacking drones...
I was flying my Phantom 4 Pro yesterday when two Purple Martins started attacking it. They were swarming and circling it and kept getting closer. I proceeded to fly it back to me as fast as it would go and they continued after it. I took it down to the deck as quickly as I could and landed without further issues. Do they hate drones????
phantompilots.com/threads/birds.117797/

(Links intentionally left cold)
"If at first you don't succeed, keep on suckin' till you do succeed." - Curly Howard

mjfog
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Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged

Re: Confirmed: Drone props will kill Purple Martins

Postby mjfog » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:57 am

I enjoy sitting in my Adirondack chair watching my two colonies every afternoon. The martins ignore the mockingbirds, jays, sandhill cranes, red-bellied woodpeckers, brown thrashers, doves and others species that wander near the colonies. Not so much with regard to crows or red-shouldered hawks. Those guys get buzzed! Martins do recognize the bad guys, the ones that could eat them or their young and give them what hell they can. Both evolutionary self-preservation and territorial defense come into play.

A drone may not illicit the "bad guy" response from a martin; certainly doesn't resemble any avian predator woven into a martin's evolutionary history. But I'll bet a drone operated too closely to a martin colony will draw a martin's attention and a territorial defense response. Most likely to the martin's demise.

All you drone flyers be careful, please.

Matt F.
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Re: Confirmed: Drone props will kill Purple Martins

Postby Matt F. » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:29 pm

I may get flamed for this, but to me flying a drone, or RC plane near Martin housing, is just causing undue stress on the Martins, and getting them riled up for no good reason.
Sure the video footage fun to watch, but it's taking the Martins' attention off of the things they need to be doing - not the least of which is keeping an eye out for attacking hawks.
Thanks to DKC's post, now we know of another reason not to - the potential of injuring or killing a Martin that gets too close.
If someone is going to be flying in close proximity to active Martin housing, hopefully they use the protective prop cages that are available for many of the drone models.

mjfog
Posts: 181
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged

Re: Confirmed: Drone props will kill Purple Martins

Postby mjfog » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:06 am

Matt F - I share your concern but I believe martin-drone encounters are very rare. Moreover, I'll bet most encounters are by two groups; 1) drone pilots who have a martin colony or by 2) colony owners who know a drone pilot. Both groups want pictures or videos, hence the drone-martin interaction.

A drone entering a martin's "space" is likely to receive attention. Either curiosity or territorial defense toward the drone are both likely to go bad for the martin. People of above groups should keep this in mind. Drones I've witnessed aren't fast enough to escape a martin so flying near a colony is just asking for trouble.

Mike


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