It’s a case of birds versus drones in Gungahlin’s skies

Lottie Twyford 23 September 2021 34
Drone being attacked by a bird

Wing delivery drone being attacked by a raven. Photo: Screenshot.

If dealing with everything currently going on at ground level isn’t enough, footage of what appears to be a raven attacking a drone in the skies above Gungahlin has emerged in recent days.It’s being reported the drone in question was carrying a Gungahlin resident’s morning coffee for delivery during COVID-19 lockdown when it was spotted by a territorial raven who wasn’t too happy with a mechanical newcomer on its turf.

In the video, you can see the raven going in repeatedly to peck at the white drone, although it’s not in any way interested in what the drone is carrying.

The video, which has been posted online and shared on a page called SkyStock, has racked up thousands of views.

The incident, and other similar ones, led to Wing – the company that operates the drones in Canberra’s north – having to temporarily stop operating in some streets in the suburb of Harrison.

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A spokesperson for Wing said some birds demonstrating territorial behaviour have been identified in the area and that the advice of ornithological experts is being sought to further investigate exactly what is going on.

“We are committed to being strong stewards of the environment and we have, and continue to, take advice from local ornithological experts,” said the spokesperson.

Wing drone in flight

One of these quiet Wing delivery drones has been attacked by a territorial bird while in flight in the Gungahlin suburb of Harrison. Photo: Wing.

However, the spokesperson said that while it’s common for bird species to demonstrate this territorial behaviour and swoop at moving objects, of the tens of thousands of deliveries conducted by the company,instances of direct contact with birds has been extremely rare“.

“In the unlikely event that a bird makes direct contact with our drone, we have multiple levels of redundancy built into our operations to ensure we can continue to fly safely,” said the spokesperson.

“Consistent with those procedures, the drone completes its delivery safely, including delivery of food and drink that remains untouched in our delivery package and then returns to our facility.

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“To our knowledge, no birds have been injured during the swooping instances, and anecdotally we’ve heard from some customers that they’ve seen the ravens swooping at a range of objects in the area, including cyclists, pedestrians, cars and garbage trucks.”

While Wing’s operations are currently paused for some customers in Harrison, the company will continue to serve the thousands of Canberrans who use its drone delivery service.

Drone delivery has proved more popular than ever during this current COVID-19 lockdown, with Wing having made more than 10,000 deliveries in Canberra since the lockdown began in August 2021.

Wing has been operating in the ACT since 2019 and can deliver a range of items including food, coffee, medicine, hardware and office supplies.

Since the COVID-19 lockdown began, the company has boosted its delivery service model from five to seven days a week.

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34 Responses to It’s a case of birds versus drones in Gungahlin’s skies
Matty Pethers Matty Pethers 5:16 pm 27 Sep 21

Pagan Ruane haha same thing you seen yesterday

Christine Jones Christine Jones 12:48 pm 27 Sep 21

Love it!

Don Mountain Don Mountain 8:23 am 27 Sep 21

More power to the Raven I say! Who needs drone “deliveries”

Kellie Gav Kellie Gav 10:55 pm 26 Sep 21

Glynis Barnett this is the story i was talking about today

Peter Dark Peter Dark 12:39 pm 25 Sep 21

Go the birds!

Heather Stroud Heather Stroud 10:16 am 25 Sep 21

I wonder when the birds will figure out the drone has food!!!

Wendy Young Wendy Young 6:41 am 25 Sep 21

Birds are much more important than delivery drones. So. Much. More

Brittany Pryor Brittany Pryor 6:00 am 25 Sep 21

Michaela Gillard this is the drone delivery I was telling you about!

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:18 pm 24 Sep 21

Now for the wind turbines.

Dean Okeeffe Dean Okeeffe 10:04 pm 24 Sep 21

you'd think with all their planning did territorial birds not factor in.

    Ashley Hillstead Ashley Hillstead 10:14 pm 25 Sep 21

    Dean Okeeffe anyone who’s ever used drones even recreationally knows birds go for them too, there are hundreds of videos on YouTube

    Ashley Hillstead Ashley Hillstead 10:16 pm 25 Sep 21

    That being said it looks like losing a prop won’t take their drones out so I guess they just hack it and repair any damage

bj_ACT bj_ACT 9:21 pm 24 Sep 21

Google Project Wing seem consistently slow to admit their issues with their drones.

They consistently said the Bonython drones weren’t noisy at all, and then they came out later and said the Gunghalin V2 drones were much quieter than the noisy first version.

They denied claims by residents that there were issues with birds but when video footage is finally captured they admit there’s been some issues with birds and they stop the trial in one area.

They currently deny any birds have been injured, but a guy on radio the other day said he saw feathers flying everywhere from a bird drone interaction.

My guess is Google won’t admit injuring birds until it’s caught on camera.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:06 pm 24 Sep 21

Only if the birds wear hi-vis jackets and hard hats and are members of a trade union.

Henry Kivimaki Henry Kivimaki 8:43 pm 24 Sep 21

Can we train the birds to attack the work cover drones? .. 😏😉

Loris Manns Loris Manns 6:04 pm 24 Sep 21

I am on the bird’s side!

whatwik whatwik 5:57 pm 24 Sep 21

Yes, birds as interceptor fighters, and killer dolphins instead of subs.

Nick Savino Nick Savino 4:32 pm 24 Sep 21

We need to breed squadrons of these birds 🦅

Joseph Davies Joseph Davies 3:22 pm 24 Sep 21

Well we can rest assured that if the robot uprising happens birds will be the first to go.

Jessica Louise Findlay Jessica Louise Findlay 3:16 pm 24 Sep 21

Charmaine Whyte 😂😂 something to keep an eye out for

Loz Rose Loz Rose 2:40 pm 24 Sep 21

Kaila Brown are you a drone

Peter Stanley Peter Stanley 2:23 pm 24 Sep 21

Drones are noisy and intrusive – I’m on the birds’ side. Can we train ravens to attack the things? I agree: “Death to all drones!”

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