Illegal drone flight over bird rest area with a DJI Mini 3 Pro leaves British conservation association furious

An illegal drone flight over a resting area for migratory birds has sparked outrage from a local British conservation association. The Pro drone flew over 150 golden plovers, causing an instant panic as they had just landed to rest after a long flight. The drone also interfered with a number of sick terns, one of which died a short time later. The chairman of the association calls on all drone pilots never to fly their drones over bird resting areas.

Birds startled by illegal drone flight

The incident took place last Friday, July 1, off St Mary's Island, a small island in the north of England that has been classified in its entirety as a nature reserve. The island is also a resting area for migratory birds, including the golden plover, a protected native species. Terns also like to visit the island to rest.

On the day in question, members of the St. Mary's Island Conservation Society watched golden plovers and terns from a bird hide. But to their horror, a small-sized drone flew low over the gold-speckled birds, which then flew up in a panic. A number of terns were also “noticeably harassed,” the conservation association writes on Facebook:

“It was great to witness the golden plover's return and to hear their ‘cacking' again. When we arrived on site and heard the unmistakable sound of the golden plover, we counted at least 150 of these perfectly camouflaged birds hiding among the rocks through our binoculars.

What happened next was horrible. A drone flew over the nature reserve, scaring away all the golden plovers that had flown hundreds of miles to rest in the reserve. Even sadder to see that a number of sick terns were noticeably harassed by the drone's presence. Soon after, the weakest of the terns perished, while the others struggled to fly away.”

Illegal drone flight with a DJI Mini 3 Pro

The birdwatchers also managed to capture a photo of the low-flying drone. It appears to be a DJI Mini 3 Pro, a sub-250-grams mini drone that was introduced just a few weeks ago. The area has been designated a no-fly zone for drones.

Police informed about illegal drone flight with DJI Mini 3 Pro

The nature conservation association takes the matter seriously and calls on drone pilots never to fly over resting areas for birds.

“Nature reserves are places for wildlife, where they need to be protected. If you know who flew their drone in the St. Mary's Island Nature Reserve on July 1, share this post with them. This incident will be reported to the Northumbria , who are recording all serious wildlife disturbances.”

Let us know what you think about this illegal drone flight over a birds reserve in the . We are curious to hear your thoughts on this matter.

Illegal Drone Flight Leaves Conservation Association Furious

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Wiebe de Jager
Wiebe de Jager

Wiebe de Jager is the founder of Dronewatch and author of several bestselling books about drone photography. Wiebe is a certified drone pilot and has a full ROC license.

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