Q: How does RoBird® work?
A: RoBird® is an ornithopter, achieving lift and propulsion by flapping its wings and steering with tail flaps. This unmanned aircraft is launched by an observer or secondary pilot when in full throttle, and remotely operated by the pilot on the ground. A skilled pilot will maneuver the RoBird® to aggressively chase birds away from a problematic location, and vector flocks in any desired direction – effectively ‘herding’ them to safety. It is the combination of flying technique and the silhouette of the apparent predator that make it successful at bird hazing.
Q: Why use a peregrine falcon design for RoBird®, and can different species be requested?
A: The peregrine falcon design was chosen for RoBird® firstly because the falcon is a predator that hunts birds from higher altitudes in open areas like airports. Other predators like buzzards or hawks hunt lower to the ground for rodents, and therefore pose a much lower threat to birds. The design was chosen secondly because falcons are the most widely recognized bird of prey on earth, with different varieties of the raptor on every continent. This feature makes it versatile enough to conduct operations anywhere. They are also the most agile and fastest animal in the world, with an average diving speed of 320 kph (200 mph), striking fear into their prey. Additionally, the shape and size of the animal also lends itself to engineering more than larger designs. Although the company has produced other models, like the eagle, they are not practical for use in daily wildlife management operations. Due to the increased size and weight, the larger model requires more battery power, which means flight time is reduced, and ability to haze birds is limited. However, other species can be created upon special request depending on size.
Q: How do you know RoBird® is effective, and do birds habituate to it?
A: Over the course of several years, RoBird® and partners have tracked bird populations and bird strikes on each project. This allows us to see how bird populations have changed over the course of time, and gauge the reactions of different species in different activities, i.e. loafing on water, feeding on ground, perching, etc. The gathered data indicates that RoBird® is highly effective in the majority of cases, and birds do not habituate to it – likely due to the randomized, erratic, and aggressive nature of ‘hunting’ techniques that pilots perform. An ongoing probe has also confirmed the effectiveness of RoBird®.
Q: Does RoBird® work on large bird species and other birds of prey?
A: Larger species of bird, such as turkey vultures, Canada geese, cormorants, and pelicans, will react when confronted with RoBird® and will leave the area. In numerous instances, the field team was also able to intercept flocks of Canada geese, break up the group, and redirect them away from active runways. Turkey vultures reacted in probes, and cormorants and pelicans were also scared away in other projects. Other birds of prey, like hawks, red kites, and other falcons, exhibit agitation by the presence of another predator in their area, and tend to leave and can even be ‘lured’ away with RoBird®.
Q: Why use RoBird® as opposed to traditional falconry?
A: Like any bird hazing tool, falconry can be effective, but has some limitations. The benefit of RoBird® as opposed to traditional falconry is that it is completely controlled and can target specific birds and direct flocks. It can also be flown all day, as many times as desired, and does not need to stop and rest. There is also no required animal training or feeding. However, RoBird® supports cooperation with falconers and other hazing methods to reinforce long-term effectiveness.
Q: What are the specifications of the RoBird®?
A: The RoBird® is 1 m in length and weighs 750-800 grams. Its body is made of a plastic composite, and its wings are made of a foam composite. It can fly in temperatures as low as 0°C (32°F), for up to 15 minutes. However, a flight will only last 2-4 minutes, as birds will typically be completely gone by that point. The RoBird® can fly against up to 20 kts winds with 25 kts gusts and very mild precipitation and although it can fly up to 4 km away, it is not flown beyond line of sight of the pilot.
Q: How much area can one RoBird® cover?
A: Although RoBird® is capable of flying several kilometers away, it is never flown beyond line of sight under any circumstances. The maximum distance flown is typically about 300 m away from the pilot. As birds have excellent eye sight, the effect can be up to 1,000 m or more away. During operations pilots work in one location at a time, covering multiple locations throughout the day. The aircraft is battery powered and can complete multiple flights per location if necessary. Pilots keep several fully charged batteries on hand while working and recharge them while in the field.
Q: Is RoBird® autonomous, and does it have sensors or cameras?
A: RoBird® currently must be remotely piloted from a person on the ground. Our expert R&D Engineers are working toward autonomy within the next few years. Contrary to popular assumption, it also does not contain any sensors or cameras, and is only used for bird hazing in wildlife management operations.
Q: What is the cost of services and can the RoBird® be purchased?
A: The units themselves are currently not for sale. Instead, RoBird® either provides its own pilots to perform the service, or leases two birds to a time to an organization, which includes a maintenance fee. Completion of a training course is also required. The cost depends on the individual needs of the organization, who can request a free quote if qualified.
Q: Why is RoBird® training required?
A: RoBird® can be challenging to maneuver, especially in difficult weather conditions. Those who go through training not only learn how to operate the remote and fly safely, but also how to perform core maintenance and calibration. These are crucial skills a pilot must have in order to not have flying accidents and resolve basic mechanical issues and repair parts independently.
Q: Is RoBird® safe?
A: RoBird® can only be flown in locations where it is safe and legal to do so. This means an acceptable area to fly has ample space for turning maneuvers, little or no human or large animal presence, with buildings, powerlines, and other obstructions at a distance. Pilots work with resident wildlife specialists, USDA, Federal Aviation Administration, Air Traffic Control, and other stakeholders to ensure safety. All pilots are fully trained, licensed, and authorized to fly in the project area. The unit itself is also equipped with failsafes which prevent it from presenting a risk to manned aviation and others, including a preprogrammed geofence, return to home and return to launch functions, and a kill switch. Units are inspected for safety before each flight, and pilots only fly if they are physically and mentally capable.
Q: Can RoBird® be used in film, television, and performances?
A: RoBird® is primarily a wildlife management tool, but it has also been used in film, commercials, and large productions. Depending on the size of the size of the flight area, weather conditions, and tasks the pilot must complete with the aircraft, RoBird® can be used for performance purposes. However, the project requires a thorough assessment by the RoBird® management team.
Q: Where has RoBird® been used?
A: RoBird® has been used on projects and demos in the UK, France, Germany, UAE, South Korea, China, India, Kazakhstan, the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Q: How do I arrange a RoBird® demo or request a quote?
A: You may inquire about a demo or quote by submitting your inquiry to email@example.com.