Date: 2/8/19 5:00 pm From: Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...> Subject: Re: Our recent drone conversations and an incident...
i have a drone experience from Oregon that may help. I observed a woman putting a drone into her car at Yaquina Head, where there have been multiple instances document of wildlife harassment. I talked to her and told her that the area was closed to drones. She was surprised, and told me that her drone and many other higher-end ones were equipped with GPS and an updatable database of closed areas, so usually if she started to use it in a closed area, it would alert her. I passed this info on th the staff there, and they were able to find the website and post the closure, which apparently lets at least some drone users know whether they are in or near closed areas.
So, if you have (public) place you think needs protected from drone harassment, you might be able to talk the park staff, NC Wildlife Resources personnel etc. into banning drones and getting the locations posted and into the database.
Drones are great tools with a lot of neat capabilities, but like most tools they can be misused. As Clyde did, blame the human, not the tool.
On 2/8/2019 7:36:09 PM, Harry LeGrand <carolinabirds...> wrote:
Clyde and all:
Shelley Lake is a staffed park. There are staff based at the Sertoma Center on the west side of the lake, and I'm surprised that you did not mention that, unless you were unaware of the building, etc. My point is - it would have been prudent to stop in and relay this information to someone there. I frequently see park staff in trucks doing groundskeeping, etc., around the lake.
All- I observed the recent discussion on drones and birding and didn't engage because I really didn't have anything to offer. I have a drone, but would never consider flying it so that it might disturb birds; I use mine exclusively for landscape photography and the like. I'm happy with that.
However, Phil Doerr and I had an experience this afternoon that incensed both of us. We went to see the Raleigh O'neal Rd. long-tailed duck (scored!), and then went over to Shelley Lake to see the eagle nest and anything else interesting we might happen upon. We didn't know exactly where the nest was, but by and by, we found it. As I was approaching the nest tree on the green way, I heard a curious sound, and then saw a small drone flying directly over the nest, and perhaps only 15-20 ft above it! I started looking for the "pilot" and saw a guy at the nearby sewer line man hole obviously controlling it; by this time, Phil was aware of it and we intervened. We informed him that he was not only breaking every ethical birding rule but also at least two federal laws; he informed us that he didn't know those laws and that he wasn't hurting anything, and that the bird couldn't possibly be stressed because it didn't even raise its head when he flew over it! This sent Phil (and, I'll admit, me) into Yosemite Sam mode, and additional things were said (aspersions aimed at our age, height, likelihood of heart attack, etc, on his part; my assertion that he was at least one anatomical body part, etc.). I took the guy's picture and he finally landed his "bird" and quickly departed in the other direction. Phil and I were extremely steamed.
A short while later as we were heading back to the car, the guy came up to us and apologized for the name calling and other imprudent things he said. We explained to him again how wrong what he did was, and he seemed to hear us; we explained that the bird could have been extremely stressed, and that its natural impulse would be to hunker down tight to the nest, since its evolutionary history does not include how to cope with small buzzy things hovering directly overhead. He assured us he would not be doing such things again, and we parted. I am still extremely troubled by the whole affair and left wondering what to do.
As we were leaving, we saw another guy with a much larger, high end drone preparing for launch in the parking lot below the dam. I sincerely hope he wasn't intending to fly it to the north end of the lake.
If you are at Shelley Lake, be on the lookout for this kind of assault on the eagles. Any advice would be appreciated.