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Canadian City Uses Drone To Chase Off Geese 196

LeadSongDog writes "The Ottawa Citizen reports on an enterprising private contractor who has been hired by a city government in Canada to drive geese off its island beaches using a small, remote-controlled drone. 'It’s proving amazingly effective, said Orléans Coun. Bob Monette. The place used to be haunted by as many as 140 geese, which can eat several pounds of grass in a day and poop out nearly as much in waste. “Now we’re down to anywhere from 15 to 20 on a daily basis,” Monette said. The weapon the city’s deployed is a “hexcopter,” a remote-controlled chopper with rotors that can hover, soar, circle and — most importantly — scoot along just above the ground, scaring the bejesus out of dozing geese. It’s operated by contractor Steve Wambolt, a former IT worker who launched his own business after one too many layoffs. “When he takes it out, they put their backs up straight and they’re watching,” Monette said. “When he starts it and it goes up off the ground, they sort of walk into a formation, and as soon as it starts moving, they all take off and they don’t come back until the next day.”'"
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Canadian City Uses Drone To Chase Off Geese

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  • by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @02:33PM (#44621789) Journal
    Another example of government tyranny.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They are Canadian Geese so the Constitution doens't apply

      • just pretend he said canadian charter or rights and freedoms

        thank goodness its a private contractor or the government likely would have invested millions into research and invented some sort of stealthed beach mobile to do the task

        • just pretend he said canadian charter or rights and freedoms

          thank goodness its a private contractor or the government likely would have invested millions into research and invented some sort of stealthed beach mobile to do the task

          For some reason, when I read this the first image that popped into my head was a Canuck with his hockey stick hiding inside a giant, camouflage beach ball...

        • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

          just pretend he said canadian charter or rights and freedoms

          Which is part of the Canadian constitution...


      • by Strider- ( 39683 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @10:10PM (#44626341)

        They are Canadian Geese so the Constitution doens't apply

        Eh? They're loud, obnoxious, and leave shit everywhere. Clearly they're American. ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Oh come on, thats totally a wild geese chase, they just try to hide the real purpose of those drones...

  • by Antipater ( 2053064 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @02:37PM (#44621827)

    What the article doesn't mention is the Nazi fighter plane that Mr. Wambolt was using the geese to bring down.

    I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne...

  • Geese are pretty smart.

    Geese are pretty big. They can take down a commercial airliner [].

    Hexacopters are small, fragile and expensive. They can't make more hexacopters by themselves.

    I predict MORE geese poop in Canada.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @02:41PM (#44621883) Homepage

      I predict MORE geese poop in Canada.

      Which is kind of like predicting colder temperatures in winter.

      Hell, I was in Myrtle Beach this year ... and there they were: Canadian Geese, honking, eating, and pooping, and then honking, eating and pooping some more for good measure. Because, well, that's what they do.

      • by xevioso ( 598654 )

        The geese where I live usually just eat, then honk, then poop, then honk, then eat, then poop. Sometimes variations on a theme, but mostly pretty consistent.

        • LOL ... well, before they can land and eat, they honk. Then they honk some more. Eating and pooping definitely happens, and I'm certain I've seen both happen at the same time. In between both there's more honking. Before they take off, they poop and honk some more. Then they go someplace else and do it all over again.

          But eating, honking, pooping, and making even more geese seems to be the general theme.

        • Somewhere they occasionally fit in "attacking some random person for not giving them breadcrumbs."

    • Geese are pretty smart.

      Not really .. but they do make it up in volume. ;-)

    • by bmk67 ( 971394 )

      Geese ... can take down a commercial airliner.

      Terrorists. I knew it.

  • I had a pet conure and one on my friends brought over one of those $30 micro copters, and let me tell you I have never any pet hate anything so much as he hated that. Not sure if it applies to geese, but these will sure scare off smaller birds.
  • just a radio controlled aircraft
    • In the RC circle they usually are seen as drones and some have been impacted by those drone laws that get passed. Remote unmanned craft, operating under it's own power, with a human controlling it.

      The laws saying people can shoot down drones; they also mean these type of craft too.

  • by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @02:49PM (#44622015)
    I'm sensing a lot of people use the word 'drone' where 'R/C Plane', a decades-old technology, is more appropriate, simply because it sounds cooler. Is the a technical dividing line between the two?

    • if the device has on board avionics to aid in control and navigation, predator drones are also remote controlled largely are they not?

      • You're right, there is no real difference save for size.

        A craft like that will have an onboard flight computer to help with attitude positioning, and possibly even GPS; and FPV camera modifications are relatively cheap/easy to setup.

    • by chuckinator ( 2409512 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:12PM (#44622315)
      It's a different in regulations requiring additional flight system equipment and verification testing. RC aircraft are only permitted a flight ceiling below 400 ft and the operator must maintain visual line of sight with the craft at all times. Unmanned aircraft are allowed a much higher flight ceiling, but they must follow all FAA rules and guidelines regarding traffic control as other manned aircraft. However, the FAA is not yet allowing drones to operate in the same airspace with manned traffic and must have a specially defined flight zone that their operations are limited to. That will change come 2015 when the FAA has said that they will allow a mix of manned and unmanned aircraft traffic with priority status going to the manned systems. Also, unmanned aircraft must have the full suite of required avionics instruments, must pass rigorous series of flight tests, and must have the same passive radar detection and flight radio transponder required for manned aircraft.
    • Well I google'd that for you because I was curious too. []

      It seems like a functional definition is that a drone has either a mounted camera, or some means of operating outside of a line-of-sight controller (eg. simple AI autonomy, or a remote control that hooks into GPS or non-mounted cameras for control, etc.).

  • by dorpus ( 636554 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @02:50PM (#44622035)

    Are there any Western records of mice that act like this? []

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @02:50PM (#44622037)

    Is a model plane now a drone? What about a paper airplane? Is an RC car a "land drone"? If I have a Capsela model in the bathtub with me, did I create a "water drone"?

    It's a tsunami of hyperbole.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @02:58PM (#44622149) Journal

    Is it just me, or are we starting to use "drone" for pretty much anything that doesn't have a pilot actually sitting in it today?

    AFAIK, "drone" is really an autonomous vehicle that for at least SOME of its flight time, it's not directly under pilot control.

    I mean, it sure SOUNDS a lot cooler to say they use a "drone" than "a big radio control plane".

  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:00PM (#44622161)
    Sounds like it's not effective enough. Get some dogs. Better yet, remove Canadian Geese from the protected species list. I'd love to hunt these things (they're so unafraid of humans now that you could whack them with a club).
    • There are golf courses that use border collies to convince canadian geese to move along. Apparently the geese don't appreciate being herded.
    • I'd love to hunt these things (they're so unafraid of humans now that you could whack them with a club).

      That's a an odd definition of the word, 'hunt,' you have there.

      • Okay, "harvest". It's not quite slaughtering since they're not domesticated, but you're correct that it's not the active pursuit that is normally thought of as hunting.
      • Whacking things with a club was probably one of the first forms of hunting that distinguished humans from other hunters.

    • by Jose ( 15075 )

      feel free to hunt away.
      Ontario MNR []:
      "Hunting is an effective way to manage goose populations and prevent conflicts. Regulations, seasons and municipal bylaws must be followed. You may hunt geese in the open season with a valid hunting licence for migratory birds. You can also encourage hunting on your property. "

    • by Punko ( 784684 )
      Parents had trouble with geese years ago. They started letting the dog out to clear the beach head of geese. He'd charge down the lawn and put the binders on just before he got to the shore, but the geese would have moved into the water. Now years (3 or 4) after the dog has passed on, the geese are all over one neighbours lawn, get into the water, swim around their lawn and come up the beach onto the neighbour on the other side. It seems that avoidance of our place is embedded deeply now.

      I do miss th
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I've heard that geese are pretty smart and will learn to avoid hunters or areas where they have been hunted. I think the lesson was "hunt early, and as far north as you can" because the birds you encounter will have seen fewer hunters and will be more inclined to land for feed and decoys.

      After they have been shot at a few times if the setup looks like what they've experienced before they will not fly low enough to be shot at nor land.

      There's also no telling the geese "coming back" are actually coming back

    • Go get a license and a shotgun, they are only protected like other migratory water fowl and aren't on any endangered species list. Go and attempt take your daily limit of sky carp every day when they are in season (I try to) and even if you don't like goose meat you can always give it away.
  • Oh man, there must be a video link of this somewhere. Anyone willing to find one? All I found was this one [] about scaring one goose off a roof from the PoV of the copter but I want to see a 3rd-person view of the drone scuttling on the ground and scaring them off...
  • I used to live on a lake that had a permanent population of 60-80 Canda geese. Those bad boys were afraid of nothing and would hiss at you just for lookin' at 'em the wrong way. There was only one thing they couldn't tolerate: a dog. I'd see a bunch of 'em take off in a hurry for what looked like no good reason, then a minute later here'd come a dog, trotting along, minding his own business.

    Screw R/C planes. The best and probably cheapest way to get rid of geese is to get a Jack Russell terrier and let it

    • Dog, yes. Generally border collies are used around here. These things are far smarter, last longer than any drone, and are self-replicating. The parents will even train the pups.

  • Decent people shouldn't have to put up with that natural world shit.

    • In a real natural world, those geese would be in our bellies.
    • It's more a problem of the geese could wind up colliding with an airplane during takeoff/landing and causing a crash. (Killing the goose, obviously, as well as injuring/killing people.) The geese, of course, don't know this. They just see "patch of grass for us to eat on and poop on." By keeping the geese away, they are actually PROTECTING the geese (notice they aren't shooting or poisoning them) as well as airplane passengers/crew.

  • by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:21PM (#44622411) Homepage

    even the dogs are displace by technology [] []

    just a few

  • This will fail. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SoTerrified ( 660807 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @03:29PM (#44622513)
    I used to work for a company that tried to market a tool to keep animals off the highway. But testing revealed that wild animals can become used to almost any stimulus over time. So the tool will work great for a while, then eventually fail. Drones are the same. Eventually the geese will learn not to fear the drone, and then they will happily munch away while it buzzes them. So this is a short term solution at best.
  • and WEAPON interchangeably.

  • Now I'm the terrorists to use teams of drones to herd geese into oncoming aircraft.

    • by c ( 8461 )

      I suppose I could have previewed that. Note to self: don't post on slashdot while buying a house.

  • It seems I'm being misattributed the quotation atop this story by the gnomes behind the scenes at /. What I actually submitted was rather different: []
  • I've seen domesticated hawks used to scare fowl off of runways which seems to have more "staying power".

    • by nbauman ( 624611 )

      They tried that in New York City.

      The hawk grabbed a small dog and tried to fly off with it. The lady who was walking the dog got into a tug of war with the hawk and started screaming. The hawk finally let go.

      It got a lot of bad publicity in the newspapers. They cancelled the program.

      I thought it was a basically good idea and was worth a try, but I don't own a small dog.

  • Effing sick and tired of the word 'drone' being used to describe everything these days. This is a remote-controlled helicopter, not an effing 'drone.'
  • This a job a dog would do better and cheaper. Just saying.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford