Date: 2/9/19 8:08 am
From: John Connors (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: Our recent drone conversations and an incident...
Thanks Clyde for posting this. Raleigh Parks needs to hear about this.
Recently the Raleigh City Council and Parks Commission held hearings and
made decisions on where people could fly drones in city parks and they
voted to restrict them from nature preserves, but most parks do permit
them. Not sure where Shelley Lake fits into their system, but I suspect
drones are allowed. But this type of concern, with colonies of nesting
birds, or birds of prey- I don't believe this was ever discussed. They
might have to revisit this.
John Connors in Raleigh

On Fri, Feb 8, 2019 at 7:01 PM Clyde Sorenson <sorenson...> wrote:

> 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.
> Take care,
> Clyde Sorenson
> Clayton and Raleigh, NC

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