FPV drone video films sudden, determined magpie attack

FPV drone video magpie attack

An Australian content producer and pilot has captured a remarkable first-person-view (FPV) drone video of his craft suffering a seriously hacked-off magpie’s prolonged attack.

Pilot tries and fails to shake off relentless bird strike

The footage was posted on the @ fabreezy_ Instagram page of an Australian pilot named Fabio, after the battle took place above a Sydney area beach. It begins with a shot of the large black and white bird sitting on the roof of a beachfront structure – presumably taken after the assailant had backed off to savor its slap-down victory. What follows is the FPV drone video of the magpie’s attack from the perspective of the aerial victim, interspersed with images taken from the ground as it continues unfolding. 

Though the video is only 20 seconds in length, the actual assault clearly lasted a lot longer. Fabio flies the craft a fairly long way up and down the beach in an attempt to shake the pursuing bird. At one point, he even pilots it straight up to put in the hopes of confusing its tormentor (which, by then, has successfully seized the drone and is trying to peck it into submission). 

Towards the end, the drone shoots as the forcefully grounded craft lies in the grass, while the triumphant winged bully swaggers above it on its legs, presumable asking if it wants more. 

DroneDJ has noted the far too abundant cases of pilots using aerial vehicles to harass wildlife, but this confrontation in no way seems to qualify as that. As Fabio notes in a caption accompanying the footage, “Everything in Australia wants to kill you, even birds!”

FPV drone video explained by attacking magpie protecting its nest

So if harassment wasn’t what set the creature off, how can the magpie’s attack be explained? It’s probably best summed up by @bjay.h, who replied to the footage noting, “It’s magpie season in Australia. They are like that every time in September because it’s breeding season.”

Indeed, the birds have become rather notorious in Oz at this time of year following several cases of humans being swooped by magpies – including one last month in Brisbane provoking a fall that led to child’s death. 

According to the Australian Museum site, peak magpie reproduction season from August through to November. It often coincides with spiking reports of males attacking to defend perceived threats to their nests. Frequently that is limited to dramatic swooping, though that can be prolonged and frightening, and contact with human, animal, or drone targets can occur. 

Magpies are a protected species in Australia, however, so individual birds determined to represent a serious threat to people are usually removed 50 km from their nests, diminishing the probability they’ll ever return.

Despite the shock of this week’s incident, Fabio came away from it with a nice FPV drone video of a dramatic magpie attack. Presumably it, too, will be uploaded to this YouTube page with his other impressive aerial footage.

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