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Seagull problems!

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Oct 11, 2023
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Yesterday i was out testing my drone above a canal area in Edinburgh, and within a minute or two of flying, seagulls were clearly unhappy ( making some noise and flying around drone ) Trying to stay calm i flew away and up to approx 70m height and Seagulls continued to pose a danger to my flight ( and themselves ) at one stage almost crashing into the drone ( a lucky escape ) i returned to home and when landed the seagulls were clearly still interested in the drone. I decided to wait 10 minutes or so, and thinking it may be safer and that birds had left area - but after take off, a similar scenario happened and i landed again and tried briefly again with similar results. Often i hover the drone relatively still in an area whilst setting up good view with camera, but i did not feel safe with the drone stopping as was likely to get hit by birds. Luckily my drone was not knocked out of sky, and of course all other conditions, lighting and wind etc were perfect! I would like to return to this area but figure it's maybe not best idea! I'm fairly new to drones but not had this happen before and wondered if this is likely to be more of a problem at this time of year ( could it be because there were nests in area? ) and perhaps safe to return in a month or two, or if best practice would be to just try again and be wary ( although figure the same thing is likely to happen and do not want to lose drone) or perhaps not return again to that area.
 
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It may depend on their motivation for the interest, if they are defending a nesting site then the 'interest' is likely to remain until the season is over and might end in collisions.
If they are looking for an opportunistic snacks then .......
I've actually flown a mini at gulls that were doing the latter and 'chased them off', there are no nesting sites near that place and the gulls just happened to be passing.
 
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It may depend on their motivation for the interest, if they are defending a nesting site then the 'interest' is likely to remain until the season is over and might end in collisions.
If they are looking for an opportunistic snacks then .......
I've actually flown a mini at gulls that were doing the latter and 'chased them off', there are no nesting sites near that place and the gulls just happened to be passing.
Gulls don't think prey in mid-air. They do take small fish from the water, but don't normally feed on anything flying.

Many (most?) attacks are actually just close fly-bys that pose no danger.

Their behavior around an active nest might be more aggressive, but it seems they're more likely to try to intimidate or frighten an interloper than to actually make contact.
 
Gulls don't think prey in mid-air. They do take small fish from the water, but don't normally feed on anything flying.

Many (most?) attacks are actually just close fly-bys that pose no danger.

Their behavior around an active nest might be more aggressive, but it seems they're more likely to try to intimidate or frighten an interloper than to actually make contact.
I wouldn't want to bet on a gull not taking advantage of a free airborne snack. They will take food on the wing, I've seen videos of that.
 
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I wouldn't want to bet on a gull not taking advantage of a free airborne snack. They will take food on the wing, I've seen videos of that.

That's interesting. Where can I find those videos? What were they eating? I know they'll eat while flying, after taking something off the ground or the surface of the water. And they'll try to take food from another bird while in flight.

The only cases of gulls feeding on airborne prey that I've heard of is a species of gulls in Australia that feed on moths at night at the harbor in Sydney.

Thanks.
 
In 7 years of flying....on the coast...I've had lots of interest from the gulls. Only one strike on a Mini 3....this year....the drone corrected itself luckily and I returned to home, no damage.
My experience is that May and June are the worst months and they are much more aggressive in built up areas.
 
Yesterday i was out testing my drone above a canal area in Edinburgh, and within a minute or two of flying, seagulls were clearly unhappy ( making some noise and flying around drone ) Trying to stay calm i flew away and up to approx 70m height and Seagulls continued to pose a danger to my flight ( and themselves ) at one stage almost crashing into the drone ( a lucky escape ) i returned to home and when landed the seagulls were clearly still interested in the drone. I decided to wait 10 minutes or so, and thinking it may be safer and that birds had left area - but after take off, a similar scenario happened and i landed again and tried briefly again with similar results. Often i hover the drone relatively still in an area whilst setting up good view with camera, but i did not feel safe with the drone stopping as was likely to get hit by birds. Luckily my drone was not knocked out of sky, and of course all other conditions, lighting and wind etc were perfect! I would like to return to this area but figure it's maybe not best idea! I'm fairly new to drones but not had this happen before and wondered if this is likely to be more of a problem at this time of year ( could it be because there were nests in area? ) and perhaps safe to return in a month or two, or if best practice would be to just try again and be wary ( although figure the same thing is likely to happen and do not want to lose drone) or perhaps not return again to that area.

I had a very similar situation like the one you described, a few days ago. Even after landing, they continued to fly around aggressively and making noise. Just after hiding the drone they eventually calmed down. After 15 minutes, I just placed the drone on the ground (engines not running) and they immediately came back furiously. As I had seen some videos about this problem, the upside of my drone is covered with a red reflective sticker, hopping that would keep them away, but no. I suspect that might be even worse, but I don't know. This is an unpleasant problem, because I live near the sea.
 
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Sea gulls are attracted to food and will fight to get the food. Perhaps our red drone looks like food. Suggest to take a handful of French fries and place on the ground far from your drone. I think would keep them away from your drone but their noise will likely attract more gulls. Sea gulls will even snatch food from your hand. Food is a strong attractor.
 
Seagulls don't confuse drones with food.
There are lots of them where I live, and when they are nesting and have babies they will follow and simulate attack at the drone to protect their nests. Later in the summer they don't care much for the drone.
Seagulls rarely attack "for real", they just try to scare intruders. Try walking close to some nests or baby gulls, they will simulate attack to your head but they rarely actually hit you (although it can happen). Other birds, like the tern, are far more aggressive.
 
Had no serious problem with them when flying drones yet, but made another interesting experience very often.
Besides drones I also have two r/c submarines and when operating one of them in the lake of Constance (Germany), I often have a swarm of seagulls circling above it and crying. Guess they think it's a dying fish. As soon as the sub will submerge, the growd goes away, but at least one seagull stays at the estimated sub position for watching. And as soon as the sub will surface, that seagull will make noise to make the growd return.
 
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Seattle here where the tourists love to throw food in the air and watch the gulls catch it along our waterfront.
I've had them fly very close to my drone, but never make contact.
Google Seagulls eating on the wing - they feast on flying ants every spring, Brine Flies over the Great Salt Lake (I spent several summers living on Antelope Island in the Lake), and other migratory insects.
 
Seattle here where the tourists love to throw food in the air and watch the gulls catch it along our waterfront.
I've had them fly very close to my drone, but never make contact.
Google Seagulls eating on the wing - they feast on flying ants every spring, Brine Flies over the Great Salt Lake (I spent several summers living on Antelope Island in the Lake), and other migratory insects.
Good examples of gulls eating on the wing, but they're not likely to confuse a drone with a french fry, piece of bread, or an insect and try to eat it.

Like you, I've had them near the drone, but never any indication of an attack and no near collisions.
 
Their behavior around an active nest might be more aggressive, but it seems they're more likely to try to intimidate or frighten an interloper than to actually make contact.

FWIW I encounter this routinely here on the west coast, Monterey Bay, north end to south. If I had to characterize the behavior, I'd simply call it territorial.

When there are a lot of them flocking together, on the water and in the air, they don't seem to like other birds around.

I'm thinking it's more defensive than predatory... it sure looks and feels that way. Lots of close fly-by's, I've actually been hit once (inconsequentially), and seemed like they were simply trying to scare/harass me away.
 
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I had a job in the Sodo neighborhood of Seattle and one seagull was quite aggressive toward a mavic mini (gen 1). This was a while ago before RID, when I could still use the drone. The descriptions in this thread of gulls simulating attack but not making contact was my experience was well. As a precaution, I made sure the mini remained over a commercial building's roof, in case contact was made and the drone came down. My main concern was not the drone, but power and communication lines. I was in controlled airspace that had a 100' ceiling (permission via LAANC). I got the gull in a few of the shots of this area I was assigned to photograph and one of those frames was used for publication. The gull is looking away from the drone and towards the area, which helped the composition and added something interesting to an otherwise boring photo of a street.
 
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