Conn. (WTNH) – In an effort to protect bird species on their 19 sanctuaries in Connecticut, the Audubon Society is banning the use of drones on all of their properties. The organization is instituting the ban proactively, in anticipation of increasing drone use across the nation. The ban means that you can’t walk onto the sanctuary with a drone.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced last week that almost 300,000 drone owners registered their unmanned aircraft in the first 30 days after the FAA’s new online registration system went into effect last year.
The Connecticut Audubon Society’s 19 sanctuaries are located in Fairfield, Westport, Weston, Redding, New Milford/Bridgewater, Hampton, Milford, Pomfret, Goshen, Haddam, East Haddam, Montville, Middletown and Stonington. Motor boats and vehicles however are prohibited in the sanctuaries.
If drones are flown too close to animals, it may cause unnecessary and harmful stress, and are likely to scare birds and other wildlife into scattering from their breeding, resting and feeding areas.
A study last year in Minnesota showed that when drones were flown near a group of black bears, their heart rates increased by 400 percent; one bear was roused from its hibernation by a drone. In France, researchers found that when drones approached wading birds from above, the birds scattered – a reaction likened to the reaction when a bird of prey approaches.