Do Birds Attack Drones? Save birds and drones in 10+ ways

Yes, some birds may attack drones, especially if they perceive them as threats to their territory or nests.

Have you ever wondered if birds and drones ever have encounters? Some birds seem to get curious or protective when they see drones flying in the sky.

Larger predatory birds hawks and eagles are more likely to attack drones, as they may see them as a potential meal. Even smaller birds like seagulls and pigeons, can attack drones.

In this article, we’ll explore whether birds attack drones and why they might do so. Let’s find out more about this interesting interaction!”

Drones and Birds’ Interaction

Drones are becoming important tools in various fields, like science and business. People wonder how these flying machines affect birds since they share the same sky.

This study explores how drones and birds interact, especially in Australia’s different environments. They focus on how birds behave around drones during breeding season, their encounters with raptors, and the impact on birds nesting in large groups.

Surprisingly, in more than 70 hours of flying drones, there were no bird incidents, but some solitary birds got a little defensive. They even monitored a huge colony of 200,000 Straw-necked Ibis with drones, which is the biggest bird study using drones.

This research opens up the effects of drones on birds in big breeding colonies.

Bird defense mechanisms

Birds have a variety of natural defense mechanisms to protect themselves from predators. These include:

  • Crypsis: Many birds are camouflaged to blend in with their surroundings, making them difficult for predators to see.
  • Speed: Some birds, such as hawks and falcons, are very fast fliers, which allows them to escape from predators.
  • Agility: Other birds, such as swallows and swifts, are very agile fliers, which allows them to dodge predators.
  • Predatory behavior: Some birds, such as shrikes and cuckoos, are predators themselves, and will eat other birds.
  • Scent: Some birds, such as skunks, have a foul odor that can deter predators.
  • Sound: Some birds, such as owls and hawks, have loud calls that can startle predators.

In addition to these natural defense mechanisms, birds also use a variety of behaviors to respond to potential threats. These include:

  • Flight: The most common response to a perceived threat is to fly away. Birds may fly up into a tree, fly away from the area, or even migrate to a new location.
  • Flocking: Some birds flock together for protection. This makes it more difficult for predators to single out a single bird, and it also allows the birds to share information about potential threats.
  • Vocalizations: Birds may also use vocalizations to warn other birds of a potential threat. This can be a loud call, such as the alarm call of a crow, or a more subtle sound, such as the twittering of a sparrow.
  • Stillness: Some birds may freeze when they see a predator. This can make them difficult to see, and it also gives the bird time to assess the situation and decide what to do next.

Birds are very sensitive to unfamiliar objects and sudden movements. These can be signs of a predator, so birds will often react by flying away or becoming more vigilant. This sensitivity helps birds to avoid becoming prey.

Here are some examples of how birds’ reactions to perceived threats can vary depending on the species:

  • Mallard ducks: When they perceive a threat, mallard ducks will often spread their wings and quack loudly. This is a warning to other ducks in the area that there is danger.
  • Blue jays: Blue jays are known for their loud calls, which they use to warn other birds of predators. They will also often dive-bomb predators, which can startle them and make them less likely to attack.
  • Tawny owls: Tawny owls are nocturnal predators, and they are very sensitive to movement. If they see or hear something that they perceive as a threat, they will often freeze and wait to see what happens. If the threat gets closer, the owl will fly away.
Why birds attack drones

Why birds attack drones

There are a few reasons why birds might attack drones.  Birds are territorial animals, and they may view drones as a threat to their territory, especially if the drone is flying close to their nest or roosting area.

Drones can be very fast and agile, and they can make sudden movements that can startle birds. This can trigger the bird’s fight-or-flight response in an attempt to defend itself.

Some birds may mistake drones for prey, especially if the drone is small and fast-moving.

Birds may also attack drones out of fear, especially if the drone is flying erratically or making a lot of noise.

Birds are curious creatures, and they may be attracted to drones because they are something new and unfamiliar. This can lead to the bird getting too close to the drone, which can startle it and trigger an attack.

How often do birds attack drones?

The frequency of bird attacks on drones is difficult to estimate accurately, as there is no centralized reporting system for such incidents.

A study by Deakin University in Australia found that almost 20% of drone pilots reported physical contact between their drone and a bird. This suggests that bird attacks on drones are not uncommon, but they are also not a daily occurrence.

Several factors can increase the risk of a bird attack on a drone, including:

  • The type of bird: Larger and more aggressive birds, such as hawks and eagles, are more likely to attack drones than smaller, less aggressive birds.
  • The time of year: Bird attacks on drones are more likely to occur during the breeding season when birds are more territorial.
  • The location: Bird attacks on drones are more likely to occur in areas where there are a lot of birds, such as near water or in parks.
  • The behavior of the drone pilot: Drone pilots who fly their drones erratically or fly too close to birds are more likely to be attacked.

What birds attack drones(16 Predator Birds)

Here is a list of birds that have been known to attack drones:

  1. Golden eagle
  2. Bald eagle
  3. Red-tailed hawk
  4. Cooper’s hawk
  5. Sharp-shinned hawk
  6. Goshawk
  7. Peregrine falcon
  8. Gyrfalcon
  9. Northern harrier
  10. Common raven
  11. American crow
  12. Magpie
  13. Seagull
  14. Goose
  15. Swan
  16. Owl

These birds are all predators, and they may see drones as a threat to their territory, their food, or even their young. They may also be attracted to drones out of curiosity or fear.

Drones Can Disturb Birds, New Study Finds

A study published in the journal Deakin Research Online found that drones can disturb birds, leading them to fly away or abandon their nests. The study looked at how drones affect birds of 22 different species and found that they were more likely to disturb birds if they flew at a low altitude or took off close to them.

The study also found that the required separation distance between drones and wildlife may be greater than the distance required for other human activities, such as walking. For example, the study found that no drone take-off closer than 100 m, and no flight within 100 m would eliminate the vast majority of escape responses by birds in the study.

  • The study looked at 561 birds of 22 different species.
  • The probability of a drone eliciting an escape response was high, and 14.6% higher at the lower altitude (at which 88.4% of overflies resulted in an escape response).
  • The probability of a drone take-off in itself eliciting a response was low (<20%) when the drone take-off was >40 m away, and decreased further with increasing distance from birds, with no escapes occurring >120 m.
  • Drones are becoming more popular, but there is no clear set of rules about how to use them safely around wildlife.
  • Drones can disturb birds, leading to them flying away or abandoning their nests.
How to keep birds away from the drone

How do I protect my drone from birds?

There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of an attack, such as:

  • Use a propeller guard: A propeller guard can help protect your drone’s propellers from being damaged by birds.
  • Install a bird deterrent: There are some bird deterrents available, such as strobe lights and ultrasonic emitters.
  • Paint your drone camouflage colors: This can help to make your drone less visible to birds.
  • Flying at a safe distance from birds and using a bird-shaped drone might avoid any occurrence.
  • Avoid flying near nests or other areas that birds consider to be their territory.
  • Avoid flying erratically. Fly your drone in a smooth and controlled manner. Avoid making sudden movements or changes in direction, as this can startle birds and cause them to attack.
  • Minimize noise. Choose a relatively quiet drone, or use a noise-canceling mount.
  • Fly at a safe altitude. Fly your drone at a height that is above the reach of birds. A good rule of thumb is to fly at least 100 feet above the ground.
  • Fly with a buddy. If possible, fly your drone with a buddy who can help keep an eye out for birds.

Can you get a drone that looks like a bird?

Yes, you can get a drone that looks like a bird. These drones are called biomimetic drones or bird drones. They are designed to mimic the appearance and flight characteristics of real birds. This makes them difficult for birds to detect, which can be useful for wildlife research or surveillance applications.


Birds sometimes attack drones. It’s not because they’re mean, but they might see the drone as a threat or something interesting. Drones can fly in a bird’s territory, and some birds are just protective. To keep both birds and drones safe, it’s good to be careful when flying drones near birds.

So, next time you send your drone up, watch out for our feathered friends, and let’s all share the sky peacefully!


Do drones scare birds?

Yes, drones can scare birds. The noise and movement of a drone can be very startling to birds, and they may react by flying away, abandoning their nests, or even becoming aggressive.

Do drones get hit by birds?

Yes, drones can get hit by birds. This is more likely to happen if the drone is flying close to birds or if the birds are startled by the drone. If a bird hits a drone, it can be damaged or even brought down.

Can drones hurt birds?

Yes, drones can hurt birds. The propellers on a drone can cause serious injuries to birds and even death. If a bird is hit by a drone, it is important to check the bird for injuries and to seek help from a wildlife rehabilitator if necessary.

Are pigeons scared of drones?

Pigeons are generally not scared of drones. They may be curious about the drone and may even fly toward it, but they are not likely to be aggressive toward it. However, there have been some reports of pigeons being injured by drones, so it is important to be aware of the potential for injury when flying a drone near pigeons.

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