Birds and Drones Do Not Mix

If I say the word ‘drone’, I am certain that you can conjure up a likeness in your mind. You probably know more about these remote controlled flying machines that can be equipped with everything from cameras to laser guided missiles than I do. The subject of this blog is the impact of drones on birds!

This morning I received a note from a reader (Thank you, ‘B’) telling me of an incident with Annie and a drone that was flown illegally over the UC-Berkeley campus. ‘B’ thought it was a good idea that everyone becomes aware of the dangers to Annie and Grinnell – and all our other wildlife – from these flying objects.

The individual flying the drone at UC Berkeley sent the machine very close to The Campanile where Annie has her scrape box. Annie went into defensive posture chasing after the machine. She could have been fatally injured by such an encounter. She could also be frightened away from her scrape abandoning breeding season which has just started or eggs, if laid.

UC-Berkeley is trying hard to locate the individual responsible. There are news reports and everyone is trying to spread the word. I hope that that individual cares and will stop their behaviour.

There are Bald Eagles trained and being trained to deal with drones.

Annie and Grinnell are not the size of a Bald Eagle. They could easily be injured or killed.

But Annie and Grinnell, Peregrine Falcons, are not the only birds having problems with illegal drones. In June, 2021, 3000 Terns and their nests of eggs were wiped out because of a drone. The Terns abandoned their nests on Huntington Beach, California after a drone crashed.

Here is the information on Annie and the Drone.

If you have a drone or if you know someone who does, perhaps it is time for a chat about responsibility. Wildlife can be seriously injured, killed, or frightened. There is a place for drones but it is not anywhere around the nests of birds!

Thank you for joining me and thank you ‘B’ for letting me know about this drone violation and its impact on Annie. Take care everyone. See you soon.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Oh no! Mary Ann I pray the drone don’t come back there or any other nest and so harm to our loving birds and their nests! Thanks for letting us know this and the links and photos.
    Have a good afternoon and take care!

    1. Oh, it is terrible, isn’t it? Can you imagine someone being so irresponsible. I hope they just didn’t know and it wasn’t deliberate. So many birds are being killed now that you wonder. And I made an error. It was 3000 Terns that abandoned their nests. 3000. Crazy. I will mention that next time but this is awful. You take care, too! It is raining here if you can believe it. And the Starlings seem to have gone elsewhere. Sharpie has been around a bit. Indeed, he was sitting on the gate when we got home from our walk.

      1. Linda Kontol says:

        Oh I’m glad Sharpie came by. Some of our birds left too but are being replaced by gold finches already. Even there were about 4 munia birds that showed up one afternoon recently and gone agsin unless I just didn’t see them. I hope the word gets out all over about the drones and birds!
        Thanks Mary Ann! Take care!

      2. There certainly seems to be some change happening. I wish I had kept a better log of the garden birds. Ironically, I was delighted to see the sparrows getting the bark butter today and not the Starlings for a change! Dyson ran off with a piece of a compressed nut cylinder. He thought he had won the lottery! Hoping you are all well, Linda.

  2. Mary Ann, thank you for bringing up the drone threat to our birds. I have an aversion to the very idea of drones (for so many reasons) but this raises new alarms. Many people are given drones as gifts — people who are both thoughtless and/or clueless about the dangers to birds and other wildlife. In my opinion drones should be licensed, and those using them should be trained to fly them. And of course they should be outlawed wherever there are birds nesting. (In other words most everywhere.) I wish they had never become a “toy”, available everywhere to anyone. The thought of what can happen breaks my heart. This is on a par with fireworks, which also gets my dander up. Alas….
    Thanks again for this one.

    1. I think they should be outlawed along with fireworks, etc. You are so right. They should never have become toys. What were people thinking! I wonder if science teachers couldn’t talk to students about the damaging effect drones have on wildlife/birds and even humans.

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