Gordon Court, a Provincial Wildlife Status Biologist in Alberta, went to pick the bird up after a farmer noticed it walking in his field. When he arrived, the bird had an open wound and couldn’t fly because of a damaged shoulder—possibly from an earlier fight. “She’d been on the ground a long time and hadn’t eaten,” he told me. “I didn’t think she’d survive the first night.”
But the bird did, and Court eventually brought it to Schwartze. Wildlife rehabilitation centres usually end up caring for injured birds, but most centres understandably lack the time and expertise to use a drone to retrain them. Schwartze has the skill set—he uses a standard drone with four whirling blades to train his own birds, a peregrine falcon and a goshawk, and he successfully rehabilitated an injured peregrine last year. Schwartze put the gyrfalcon on a gruelling four-month exercise program.
It was a tricky operation in heavy fog, but a company based in Holyrood, Edinburgh, Scotland recently used a drone to place a GPS tracker on an iceberg about two kilometres outside Petty Harbour.
Brian Lundrigan’s company, RPM Aerial Services, partnered with a GPS manufacturer in Nova Scotia for the pilot project, which aimed to find a safe way to place a tracker on an iceberg without getting too close to the often unpredictable masses of floating ice.
“It was fairly challenging. The biggest difficulty was depth perception when you’re a distance away from the iceberg, trying to see how close you are,”
The drone project will be a world first.
This world-first initiative is thanks to a Queensland state government boost in funding for koala conservation, which will allow for the use of drones and automated imaging technology.
The high-tech effort by QUT means the experts will be able to get more accurate estimates of the koala population, which will help the team to make effective conservation decisions.
Scientists based in America’s infamous ‘Tornado Alley’ are using drone technology to better understand how tornadoes and other severe weather phenomena develop. They hope new data could lead to better early warning systems that would increase the current advanced warning time of about 14 minutes to more than an hour.
In 2015, a $6 million grant from National Science Foundation was awarded to Oklahoma State University and the universities of Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kentucky to develop the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for the study of atmospheric physics. Its goal is to build small, affordable drones for use by government and university scientists, as well as private companies, to improve weather forecasting.