There’s nothing quite like aerial video footage to impress the viewer. Panoramic views from the air adds a real sense of class to any film and Soundview has spent many hours flying our drone, often around the shores of the South West. While we’re able to make the most of the beautiful scenery, it can also sometimes be challenging although perhaps not for the reasons you may suspect. With plenty of planning and pre shoot visits the flight should be a ‘breeze’ (excuse the pun). In summer months, however, things might not always be so straight forward. Why? The simple answer: seagulls. In the summer seagulls are nesting. This makes them naturally protective and when they feel threatened, aggressive. So you can probably imagine what that means for our UAV. It’s attack the drone!

Attack the Drone!

You may have seen gulls attacking birds of prey when they fear for their safety. They generally attack from above and swoop down on the predator. Well, gulls exhibit exactly the same behaviour around drones. Contact with the drone would be catastrophic for both bird and machine, so when flying we need to avoid this potentially dangerous and upsetting scenario. Recently, the papers have been full of stories of gull attacks and advice on how best to deal with them. A University of Exeter study suggested staring them down! Not sure how that works in the air. Of course,  one simple solution would be not to fly near nesting sites, but around harbours cliffs and beaches it is virtually impossible to get away from our feathered friends.

Seagulls Attack Simple Solutions

At Soundview we’ve come up with a couple of simple solutions: Firstly, we have a dedicated bird spotter – our nickname for them is “Hawkeye”. Their job is, well, what it says on the tin. As soon as they see the bird approach the drone they make the pilot aware. Next, the pilot then takes immediate action by flying up. Why up? Well, the drone can ascend quicker than the bird, and can get clear of the danger rapidly. If we were to descend, the bird may fly quicker and attack from above. Finally, flying down often means heading towards water; drones and water are a very bad mix.  We’re not seagull psychologists, but have spent many hours observing their behaviour around drones. You only have to go onto YouTube to see how many posts there are of seagull attacks on drones. Its a common phenomenon. However, many of these posts are from inexperienced and or unqualified pilots with little regard for the creatures whose back yards they are flying in. Our advice is to be aware, don’t get too close, get out of the way, and you should be able to fly safe.

Drone Flying Legislation