Researchers use dead birds to make spy drones to monitor wildlife

In a study that was presented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech 2023 Forum in January, a group of researchers disclosed how they successfully developed spy drones from the bodies of stuffed dead birds.

Spy drones made from dead birds

The study's lead author, Mostafa Hassanalian, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at New Institute of Mining and Technology, told the New Scientist that, “instead of using artificial materials for building drones, we can use the dead birds and re-engineer them as a drone. We can use the dead birds and re-engineer them as a drone.”

The spy drones that are made from dead birds are called “ornithopters” because the way they fly resembles the flight patterns of birds. The drones have wings and are powered by propellers.

For the purpose of the study, the researchers assembled parts of taxidermied birds and artificial flapping drone mechanisms to create an object that appears to be and behaves very similarly to a bird.

The group of researchers used the ornithopters to carry out two separate flight tests, including one with the bird-like device shaped like a pheasant.

Researchers noted that the development of these bird-like spy drones presents a number of challenges; however, they noted that the end result is “very practical for research purposes and can keep nature undisturbed.”

Hassanalian suggests that these unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, might prove useful to researchers looking into , particularly the methods by which migratory birds conserve energy.

According to Hassanalian, birds can cover 2,000 kilometers in just two days if they fly in formation and switch positions frequently.

This allows them to conserve more than 40 percent of the energy they use while flying. Researchers will not only be able to observe migratory birds with these drones, but they will also learn how to apply the techniques used by nature to aircraft.

Researchers Use Dead Birds As Spy Drones To Monitor Wildlife

In the future, the drones could also be used to track poachers and those responsible for deforestation.

According to Hassanalian, the drone also has the potential to be enlarged in the future to assist militaries and their respective spying programs. However, he claims that this would require additional research because the prototype that is currently available is too loud for the purposes of military surveillance.

“Sometimes you don't want people to find out that this is a drone,” Hassanalian said.

Let us know in the comments below, what you think about this idea. To be honest, it sort of creeps me out to use dead birds to make spy drones, but I'm curious to hear what you think.

Get your Part 107 Certificate

Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.

pilot institute dronexl

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. The content, images, and intellectual property on this website are protected by copyright law. Reproduction or distribution of any material without prior written permission from is strictly prohibited. For permissions and inquiries, please contact us first.

FTC: is an Amazon Associate and uses affiliate links that can generate income from qualifying purchases. We do not sell, share, rent out, or spam your email.

Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

Articles: 3152

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.