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June 15, 2021
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Drone pilots, be mindful

Joanna Thompson, writing for Audubon:

On the morning of May 13, Peter Knapp stepped onto an ominously quiet California beach. The night before, he’d noted a horde of boisterous Elegant Terns just starting to incubate their eggs in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, 30 miles south of Los Angeles. But the roughly 3,000 birds were missing. 

“I didn’t see the terns anywhere on the reserve,” says Knapp, a seasoned wildlife monitor with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “So I started looking around.”

By the time he reached North Tern Island, the birds’ nesting site, he’d found an answer. On the ground was an illegal drone, which had obviously crashed. The birds did not return, abandoning some 1,500 sand nests, each holding one or two eggs. 

Sad story. A stark reminder to those with us that fly drones to fly within the laws, be mindful, and over plan.

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