Can Quadcopters Be Used For Bird Watching?

can quadcopters be used for bird watchingYou may love your quadcopter for its ability to fly high. Or for the manoeuvres that you could do. However, a few of you might buy it for a completely different reason – for bird watching. What if you could silently look at the birds up close and personal?

Quadcopters are becoming popular day by day. The automated drones lifted by four rotors can rise to great heights and travel considerable distance. With introduction of cameras like GoPro and quadcopters becoming more agile, lightweight and affordable, people are buying it for fun and aerial shooting.

Quadcopters for bird watching

Drones or quadcopters can be operated from the ground using a remote control. The flying device with a fitted camera can effectively record images and videos of birds from a bird’s eye view. You will find many videos on Youtube showing videos of birds shot by drones. It can also be used by bird lovers and birders for purposes like:

  • Following the bird and find out its habitat or nest
  • Discover and explore bird watching zones or parks through an aerial view
  • Document nature and habits of birds
  • To reach areas inaccessible by foot and find out more about the birds

Advantages of using quadcopters for bird watching

There are some advantages which you can get by using a quadcopter for bird watching. These benefits are not offered by traditional means of bird watching like binoculars.

  • Professionalism –  Quadcopters are used increasingly by bird lovers or filmmakers documenting birds. It is a professional way to record details about bird species and discover their activities.
  • Bird’s eye view – It is thrilling to see your favorite birds eye to eye flying alongside them. Quadcopters can be made to line up with birds, follow them and deliver unique angles on images for better visibility.
  • Extensive reach – Drones can be controlled by a remote and fly across long stretch of distances. Many times bird watchers have to explore a forest to find out more about birds. They can reduce the risks of wild animals and other threats by checking the area first by a quadcopter.
  • Fun way – Quadcopters are also great for young people to just chill and lookout for birds where they live. The drones can be flown alongside birds and it is also a great way to spend time with friends and family.

Words of precaution

It is always essential to remember that technology can cause harm to nature. Drones feel like alien objects to birds and many times they end up attacking it. It may also injure the bird if they get too close to the spinning rotors. All national parks like Yosemite have banned flying of quadcopters within their boundaries to preserve and protect wildlife and nature.

If you are using a quadcopter to watch birds, keep the following in mind:

  • Never get your quadcopter too close to the birds
  • Do not intrude in the privacy of the birds if they have babies in their nest
  • Respect nature and use your quadcopter responsibly

These simple tips can help you look at the birds you want in privacy. We are sure bird watching wasn’t as easy, ever.

Want to learn more about pigeons? Read our post in pigeon intelligence here!

Pigeon Intelligence

Pigeon IntelligenceBirds are extremely intelligent which has been proved through the verbal skills exhibited by parrots or through the extra ordinary memory exhibited by some pets or even through articles confirming the skills employed by some birds in mending activities such as plumbing. Many studies, indicate that pigeons are one of the most intelligent species in the category. Their ability to count has been known for quite some time now, in addition to their capability to grasp abstract rules with regard to numerals.pigeon-250x250

A decade ago, Researchers had proved that monkeys could arrange numbers according to their value and hierarchical order. They had the ability to learn the ordinal value of these numbers and also to differentiate them according to their value. Damian Scarf undertook this experiment in New Zealand using pigeons and found positive results. Pigeons succeeded in doing these calculations and assortment of numbers successfully. This was considered to be a revelation in the world of science and scientists all around the world were extremely impressed with these findings and results. However, this was made possible by vigorous training imparted to them using different colours, sizes and shapes and also by making groups of them.

Read also: The best and most beautiful pigeons in the world

Habitat for Pigeons

Habits for pigeonsMany people all around Germany believed Pigeons too be extremely damaging and wanted to get rid of them by killing them all. However, some environmentalists took upon the case and campaigned against the common will of the people. They also got the senate to their side by indicating how cruel and how tax money would be wasted by this initiative. All this led to a new concept of building lofts for these birds. One of the prominent members of the lot designed a modern amenity for the birds which was taken over by bird enthusiasts and private donors.

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These beautifully created lofts could house the pigeons along with provisions to eat and most importantly it re-created the image of pigeons in the minds of people as just unwanted ugly inhabitants of sophisticated buildings. These birds look healthier because of proper food and water provided to them in the beautiful lofts. These pigeon houses are made from insulated aluminium sheets which makes it light enough and also makes it quite warm in winter and provides a cooling effect during the hot summers.

It is an extremely practical and a very beautiful solution for the problems caused by these birds in the cities. However there is no necessity of lofts in every city or its parts. But can be effectively installed in places where there is large flock of pigeons disturbing human activity.

Read also: World War I and Pigeons

The Pigeons of the Trafalgar square.

The Pigeons of the Trafalgar square.The famous Trafalgar square of London has been known for the enormous flock of pigeons. It had been there, over years entertaining generations of children and tourists alike. However it has been declared as a non-fly zone now evicting the pigeons out through starvation. One of the mayors of the city, Ken Livingstone took strict measures to eradicate these birds by reducing the availability of grains. This was done as a part of the renewal of the square for around $40,000,000. Livingstone reached a new low by cutting down the license of the traditional seed sellers who has been doing business for generations. This caused a massive uproar among the people and they tried their best to fight against the senator and also to display their unending love for these winged friends.

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Many people including celebrities came into fore- front, pointing out how pigeons were considered to be real heroes and how intelligent and smart they were. It was estimated that around 500,000 pigeons were involved in the Second World War as messengers and incurring the wrath of Hitler. The history of these birds go back to the time of Moses, and is believed that the Egyptian Army had used these birds as messengers. It is a shame that these birds could not be preserved and the traditions could be saved by one of the leading cities in the world.

Myths regarding Pigeons

Myths regarding PigeonsPigeons do not reproduce equally corresponding to each gender. The myth is believed to have originated from ancient Rome and this has been proved wrong by scientists by experimenting sex linked mating among pigeons.
The shape, texture and nature of scales on the bird’s leg does not indicate its capacity to be a racing bird or flying one. It does not affect the bird in any way other than its appearance.
There is no research that supports the relevance or effects of eye sign. No tests have brought out positive correlation between the eye sign and its behaviour. A bird cannot be categorized as good or bad just by looking at and analysing the eye sign of birds.

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Doves and Pigeons are not different, in fact they are the same. The only difference is the origin of words. Pigeons come from the French language, while the word, Doves originated from Dutch. However with language use, different countries have started to employ it to indicate various connotations. Like in American English, dove is referred to the smaller variety like ringneck (Streptopelia roseogrisea).
In contrast to the common myth, both male and female pigeons take equal responsibility in looking after and raising the off spring. They take turns while incubation and also is capable of secreting milk.

Messengers in the World Wars

Messengers in the World WarsPigeons played an inevitable role in both the World Wars and saved a lot of lives by being messengers and as intelligence gatherers. They were mostly transported on ships and released during an attack with the location and description of the ship that is sinking. Both the wars used pigeons extensively to carry messages across the military troop’s camp to the war front. Once the pigeons, arrived their destination the wires were used to give indication or information to the soldiers and they would retrieve the message from the bird and telegraph it to the required destination. Sometimes even a personal messenger or wired phones were used too. These pigeons job nature was immensely dangerous as many at times, they would be spotted and shot down.

During World War I, a homing pigeon named Cher Ami had carried a very important message which is said to save over 200 people in spite of sustaining injuries and even losing his eye sight. Cher Ami was a registered carrier pigeon, which was owned and employed by the U.S Army Corps in France. He is often believed to have delivered around twelve vital messages and was honoured the French Croix de Guerre.

a03c313793ffca258f5f34849aa07704During World War II, Pigeon lovers and owners from in and around Britain handed over their pigeons to the Army to act as messengers .It is estimated that around 250000 birds were employed by the army, Civil Defence services ( fire service, Police, Home guard) and the RAF. The widely popular racing of pigeons were cancelled and strict control measures were taken to ensure all trained pigeons could reach their homes safely , so that they could be used in the War.

GI Joe, an American homing pigeon delivered information regarding a scheduled attack on an Italian village which led to taking immediate measures and thereby saving thousands. He carried the message in a swift pace before the onset of the bomb. GI Joe was honoured for his courage and in time action by awarding the Dicking Medal for gallantry bestowed by the Lord Mayor of London as his action had saved an entire village.

The Awardees of Dickin Medal

CTAIggGWcAEqzsJThe Dickin Medal is an honor bestowed upon animals who displays prominent devotion and gallantry while fulfilling their responsibilities or duty. This popular award was introduced by the founding member of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals – Mrs Maria Dickin. This is also the only award which was restricted to the animal Kingdom. The statics’ indicate that between the years of 1943-1949, the medal was awarded to around 54 animals who has displayed chivalry and has served the mankind by an act of enormous gallantry and devotion. The recipients included one cat, three horses, 18 dogs and 32 pigeons.

The most prominent pigeon who received the award was ‘White Vision’, for carrying and delivering an important message under extremely difficult scenario and the bird also helped in rescuing an aircraft in 1943, October as a part of RAF mission. White vision is estimated to have flown across heavy seas (60 miles) fighting against winds at 25 miles/hour.Some of the Dickin medal winners other than White Vision:Winkie: He was bred in Whitburn by AR Colley and was bestowed the award for delivering an important information under extremely difficult conditions which helped in rescuing an aircrew.

600804-f01b70d0-676b-11e3-b121-6260b4b49643Another pigeon, George (Tyke) belonged to Middle East Pigeon Service received the award for being a messenger to RAF and rescuing an aircrew as a part of service.The wars employed pigeons to carry news or messages across the military troop’s camp to the war front. Once the pigeons, arrived their destination the wires were used to give indication or information to the soldiers and they would retrieve the message from the bird and telegraph it to the required destination. Sometimes even a personal messenger or wired phones were used too. These pigeons job nature was immensely dangerous as many at times, they would be spotted and shot down.

Read also: The Pigeons of the Trafalgar square.

World War I and Pigeons

 World War I and PigeonsPigeons were considered as the best and reliable mode of communication during the First World War. It is estimated that around 100,000 pigeons were employed in the war as messengers with a 95% success rate. Since there was no advancement in technology nor communication and there was absolutely no reliable mode of communication. Animals were used as a trial, and then later pigeons and dogs (both extremely loyal pets) were employed for this purpose. Pigeons were also extremely common then. During the battle of the Marne (1914), the French extensively employed these bird messengers in the army and took them along.

Once the battle began, there was a lot of disorientation and confusion among the Army and then pigeons were released with clear messages tied to them. This worked out to be an effective strategy and also gave the army clarity in their actions. However, an astonishing fact is how these birds reach perfectly back to their headquarters even when (most of the times) the Army would mostly relocate their boot camp.

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These pigeons were renowned for their capabilities for returning home or to their breeders. The indomitable strength of a pigeon was not just this characteristic but also the furious pace at which it can fly, this almost made it difficult for the enemy lines to attack them or even spot them in the sky. However the enemies could still bring them down by counter attacking them with their natural predator, like a falcon.

These birds have a credit of saving over thousands of lives and also of mobilizing many battles and movements through the War. Their services has been accredited by the nation by honouring them with awards and other medals. The Royal Pigeon Racing Association had an exhibition with all the details and distinct achievements of these extraordinary contributors in its annual exhibition.