Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s raven swooping on a drone attempting to make a delivery to a Canberran craving a burrito.
- Drone service Wing temporarily halts its drone deliveries to the Canberra suburb of Harrison
- The company says it has received reports of birds swooping on objects during nesting season
- The pause on deliveries will allow bird experts to investigate the behaviour of ravens
A battle for aerial dominance is emerging as nesting season coincides with a surge in demand for drone deliveries during Canberra’s lockdown.
Drone delivery service operator Wing has paused flights in the northern suburb of Harrison while bird experts assess the behaviour of local ravens to ensure their welfare is safeguarded.
In written feedback provided to a customer, Wing advised: “We’ve identified some birds in your area demonstrating territorial behaviours and swooping at moving objects.
“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 company spokeswoman told the ABC the experts believe the birds are ravens.
“To our knowledge, no birds have been injured during the swooping incidents, and anecdotally we’ve heard from some customers that they’ve seen the ravens swooping at a range of objects in the area, including cyclists, pedestrians, cars, and garbage trucks,” she said.
“In the unlikely event that a bird makes direct contact with our drone, we have multiple levels of redundancy built into our operations to ensure we can continue to fly safely.”
She said the procedures allowed the drones to complete their deliveries safely while food and drink remained untouched in the package below.
Wing has been operating in the ACT since 2019 and delivers a range of items including food, coffee, medicine, hardware and office supplies.
Currently the company only delivers to the Gunghalin suburbs of Crace, Palmerston, Franklin, Harrison and Mithchell, and has completed 10,000 deliveries to these areas since the lockdown began in August.
“Wing saw a 500 per cent increase in deliveries worldwide in 2020 (compared to) 2019 and we’ve continued to grow at a similar rate in 2021.”
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