Due to the increasing density of Peregrines in London and the ever increasing density of Drones being used as a marketing/survey and even a leisure tool, it is inevitable that they will clash at some time.
I have touched on this subject before, simply put the 2 don’t mix, peregrines being the highly aggressive birds that they are will either react or ignore them, the big point here is that there is no way of predicting this.
If they were to clash, with the peregrines usual method of attack, dive on it and either hit it or try and grab it; obviously it’s going to sustain injury or worse from the blades.
That’s not to mention the damage possibly sustained to the Drone, they are very expensive.
I have nothing against Drones being used in a responsible manner, in many scenario’s they produce amazing footage, you only have to look at some of the Wildlife programs.
As a marketing tool, especially on high rise blocks they give never seen before footage from the exterior.
However on active Peregrine nesting sites, most of London’s pairs are territorial all year round, the potential for conflict is ever present, of course other than the publicised peregrine sites, Drone operators are not going to know where peregrine sites are to avoid them.
There are currently 30+ pairs in the LNHS area (20 mile radius from St.Pauls) and the Drone issue is arising on many peregrine sites now, it’s a new modern tool which serves a purpose, I can understand it, they offer incredible video footage.
NaturalEngland have recently advised that it could be seen as a breach of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, if a Drone is knowingly flown in an active Peregrine site at any time of year, not just the licence period (Feb 1st to July). Obviously the risks of reaction will be far greater during the breeding season, especially with chicks/juveniles involved.
It would be covered under ‘Reckless or Intentional Disturbance’
As I said above I have nothing against them being used responsibly; however it has to balanced on peregrine sites due to the potential risk, they are a Schedule 1 species.
Regulations are sorely needed for Drone operators in London to avoid peregrine sites, there needs to be a standard approach to the respective governing bodies before any use as I see it.
This way Operators can avoid them and sites that are not publicised can remain so.