Flying robotic falcon scares away flocks of birds

A flying robot can be used to scare away flocks of birds in fields. The RobotFalcon resembles a peregrine falcon in size, shape and colouration. It has a wingspan of 70 centimetres, weighs 245 grams and flies at 15 metres per second.

Rolf Storms at the University of Groningen and colleagues in the Netherlands created the RobotFalcon. To test the efficiency of RobotFalcon, researchers conducted trials on 54 separate flocks. RobotFalcon was able to clear all the targeted birds within 5 minutes. Whereas a standard drone could only clear 80 per cent of the birds within 56 separate flocks over the same time period.

RobotFalcon could replace traditional methods including scarecrows, recordings of bird distress calls or lethal approaches such as guns. However, the current prototype has a battery life of just 15 minutes, and the RobotFalcon requires a human operator. In the future, the control mechanism could be automated to reduce need for human intervention.

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