Wednesday 22 September 2021

Dutch firms trials robot hawks to chase off gulls and protect crops

A Dutch company is developing robot birds to protect crops and chase away other birds, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.

Robot birds are not new but Clear Flight Solutions hopes to take its own product to market mid next year. Trials are currently underway on a rubbish tip in Twente where the remote controlled birds are being used to keep gulls at bay.

There are dozens of places where the robot hawks and falcons can be used, the Volkskrant says. For example, tens of thousands of geese which congregate around Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport could be chased away rather than gassed.

Gulls

The robot birds, with a wing span of up to one metre, could also be used to reduce the nuisance caused by gulls and pigeons in cities which become accustomed to other attempts to scare them off.

‘Birds are disturbed by kites or loud noises a couple of times but then they get used to it,’ company founder Nico Nijenhuis told the paper.

‘But birds are genetically programmed to be afraid of birds of prey. Our birds not only look like birds of prey but act like them. They chase other birds at 80 kph and make it very clear: I am the predator and you are the prey.’

Before the birds can be used in the field, a number of changes need to be made. For example, Dutch law bans the use of unmanned aircraft for commercial aims unless they have a permit.

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