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Red-Tailed Hawks Attack Drone in NYC Park

Nov 25, 2015 01:59 PM EST

In an update to the category "wildlife reactions to drones," two red-tailed hawks in Brooklyn, New York's very large and wooded Prospect Park recently attacked an illegal drone. The incident was reported by a birdwatcher, according to the newspaper DNAInfo. Prospect Park and Central Park in New York are known for having resident hawks, and two of them were likely the ones involved.

Rob Bate, who has been president of the Brooklyn Bird Club for the last three years, saw pilots launch the drone in a large meadow (the Nethermead). Shortly afterward, hawks set upon the machinery. Bate noted that the birds were in a "stoop" position, which signals an attack mode; they had their wings folded.

"They were really upset," as Bate was quoted by DNAInfo. "They see a drone in the air, they take it as a competitive predator, like another hawk that's coming into their territory. And [the drone] doesn't behave right and it doesn't go away and they get more excited. And they were going after it."

The drone owners landed the device before the hawks could hurt themselves, Bate said in DNAInfo.
Flying an unmanned aircraft is illegal in Brooklyn parks, except in Calvert Vaux Park and Marine Park, said the city Department of Parks, according to DNAInfo.

In related news, a Staten Island, New York photographer frequently captures shots of red-tailed hawks, osprey and other wildlife. 

Drones have also been found to stress out wildlife, in this study. 

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-Follow Catherine on Twitter @TreesWhales

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