Bird vs. robot

Bird vs. robot

From New Scientist:

This could just be the first of many battles to come between natural flying predators, and man-made flyers inspired by nature.

Robotic dragonfly toys made by WowWee Robotics are being snatched by birds of prey. One boy had his grabbed by a Red-tailed hawk not long after unwrapping one on Christmas day. You can read his account of the event. Engadget reports that WowWee has been contacted by 45 people about the same issue in the past two months.

Nature versus Robot – Link

14 thoughts on “Bird vs. robot

  1. It's true! says:

    I’ve had it almost happen to me, more than once. The first time was shortly after getting my Wowee Dragonfly. I was taking it for one of my shaky, porpoising flights. The thopter went up into a stall, and fell out of the air. Half a moment later, a brown bird swept right through the space where my toy was. The bird-of-prey swooped off empty-clawed, and my dragonfly was saved by bad flying.

  2. Souliere says:

    I was flying a dual line flexifoil kite once, it’s about 2×6 feet in size. I was holding it steady in the air about 100 feet up as I was talking to someone and a large bird (probably a crow) tried to land on it.

  3. JasonR says:

    The bird in the New Scientist picture is an osprey, or fish hawk. Pretty unlikely that it would be interested in aerial prey. Nice photochop though.

  4. WilliamR says:

    I used to fly 2 meter RC gliders and had a hawk attack one day. It ripped a chunk out of one wingtip but it was an easy repair.

  5. TimO says:

    Also an R/C flyer….
    We get hawks and vultures flying over our flying fields all the time in Florida. Not at all uncommon to have them soar with us or attack if they get territorial.

    As far back as the 1970s the guy in California who made the R/C seagulls for the movie “Johnathan Livingston Seagull” reported prey birds coming for them.

    Not at all new, kids…

  6. rob cruickshank says:

    I’m watched an eagle drop in behind an RC glider just like a fighter plane, then peel off when it decided it wasn’t anything to be bothered with.I’ve had a hawk circle my foil kite, and had another kite mobbed by starlings, who must have thought it was a predator.
    The birds were here first. It’s their sky.

  7. david says:

    The very first google result is the osprey sans r/c vehicle from the National Geographic web site. Nice photoshop. Wonder if New Scientist paid NatGeo for their image rights? Losers.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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