A more Canadian kind of drone strike: Hexacopter tasked with scaring geese off

Goose buster
Screen capture Ottawa Citizen

Who you gonna call? Goose Buster!

The city of Ottawa has a problem with geese. They land in great numbers along the Ottawa River and their droppings not only dirty the beaches and recreational installations, but they also contaminate the river, raising E. Coli levels. The city has been throwing every non-lethal option but the kitchen sink at the geese, including trained dogs, noise blasts, animal decoys, etc, but without much success.

Enter stage left: Steve Wambolt. He was originally trying to sell aerial drone photography services to the city when he learned about the geese problem. That's when inspiration struck and he figured that his 26-inch-wide remote-controlled hexacopter might be able to do the job.

What Wambolt learned -- mostly by researching online -- he incorporated into the redesign of his hexicopter, which took about two weeks. Its cameras were removed and speakers were added to play the sounds of predators as it flies low accross the beach.

The city even obtained a special "scare permit" from wildlife authorities to bother the protected birds. [...] Since deploying the drones in July, the number of geese in the area has dropped from hundreds to a few dozen, and the beach has been not been shut once. (source)

The city is planning to have Wambolt return again next year. Maybe other cities with similar problems can learn from this and join the 21st century in animal-scare-tactics?

It's not a complete success, though. The small drone has not been effective at scaring away seagulls.

"Seagulls are more stubborn," Wambolt said.

Via AFP, CBC, Daily Mail

See also: Experience Mother Nature, in miniature! 9 Must-see table top nature photographs (including 'making of')

Tags: Animals