Wing, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has been regularly making deliveries of lightweight goods, via drone, for some time. The service was first tested out in Australia’s capital city of Canberra, back in 2017, and has been going strong since. Recently, a man named Ben Roberts caught a raven attempting to take down a drone, delivering his coffee, on video (seen above).
The brief clip shows a raven latching on to the back of the aircraft with its claws. The bird then pecked at it relentlessly with its beak. The drone wavered a bit but was able to successfully deliver Roberts’ coffee. According to ABC News Australia, Wing deliveries have been temporarily suspended in Roberts’ neighborhood of Harrison, a suburb of Canberra, while authorities study the behavioral patterns of local ravens.
‘We’ve identified some birds in your area demonstrating territorial behaviors and swooping at moving objects,’ Wing wrote in feedback — obtained by ABC News Australia — to a Harrison customer about the stoppage. ‘While this is common during nesting season, we are committed to being strong stewards of the environment and would like to have ornithological experts investigate this further to ensure we continue to have minimal impact on birdlife in our service locations.’
|A local raven tries to take down a Wing delivery drone in Harrsion — a suburb of Canberra, Australia.|
Drone deliveries of goods weighing around five pounds or less have been especially useful to certain communities during COVID lockdowns. The pandemic is still raging in Australia. Roberts doesn’t mind the temporary suspension of Wing’s services in his neighborhood, per ABC News Australia, and can even empathize with the ravens.
‘From their point of view, they’re very intelligent birds, what must a drone look like to them? It would be like a flying saucer landing in our front yard to us,’ Roberts said. A spokesperson for Wing claims that to their knowledge, no birds, or any other wildlife, have been injured by the delivery drones.
While this particular instance doesn’t involve a drone being used for photography or video capture, it highlights the yet another risk that could bring down your drone during flight—it’s not just wind, trees and other aircraft you have to worry about. It’s also a reminder that when you’re flying your drone, you should take into consideration nearby wildlife and ensure minimal impact is made to the behaviors of native species.