Robotic Crows Use Lasers to Scare Off Hungry Birds

Robotic Crows Use Lasers to Scare Off Hungry Birds

You’ve heard of a robocop . . . it’s a remote-controlled, programmable robot cop.

But have you ever heard of a robocrow? As in a scarecrow that frightens birds? This robocrow uses lasers to scare them off and it seems to be working.

An automated robot can be programmed to sweep lasers at random across areas ranging from 200 acres to more than 3,000 acres. The trajectory of the lasers can be programmed from a laptop and it then makes random sweeps across fields.

The silent lasers are certainly friendlier than bird repellents such as propane cannons or squawker boxes. And I’m quite sure the birds prefer lasers to a 12-gauge shotgun.

Farmers and birds have been waging war on each other from the beginning of agriculture.  But with the use of laser-shooting robots, the farmers are finally scoring more points than the the ravenous birds.

The Bird Group, a Netherlands-based company which sells the laser system, offers free laser safety training. That’s important because lasers can burn your eyes if you look into them. It’s the same danger pilots face –  being blinded by people aiming laser pointers into the sky.

Yes, there’s concern for the lasers harming the birds’ retinas. Researchers at Purdue University are studying the risk of injury to the animals. The jury is still out.

The Bird Group is represented in North America by Wayne Ackermann who is based in the Portland area. He thinks birds see the beam as a physical danger coming at them. “It’s like someone waving a stick in your face,” he says. “At some point, you’re going to say, ‘I’m not welcome here and I’m going to leave. “