7 tips to avoid a drone bird strike

Birds have occupied our skies long before the invention of drones. Many people assume a bird strike is uncommon, yet according to our 2023 claims data, bird strikes were actually the fifth most common reason for a drone insurance claim last year.

A bird strike occurs when a drone collides with a bird while flying. The damage that a drone sustains in a bird strike varies depending on the size and speed of the bird, as well as the size and weight of the drone.

As well as causing potential injury to the bird (and any by-standers), a strike can cause damage to the drone’s propellers, motor and sensors, which can lead to a loss of control or reduced performance and increase the risk of a drone malfunction or crash. In some cases, a bird strike can also cause a drone to lose power or lose its GPS signal, again increasing the likelihood of an incident.

Below we’ve provided some tips on how to avoid a bird strike on your drone.

1. Consider your location

If you can, avoid flying your drone near areas where birds are known to congregate. These areas include parks, nature reserves, wetlands and bird sanctuaries.

2. Consider the time of day

Birds are typically more active in the early mornings and late afternoons when they are looking to feed. Try to avoid flying your drone at these times and opt for quieter periods with less bird activity, such as the middle of the day or late in the evening.

3. Keep your drone in sight

Always keep your drone within your visual line of sight, as this will allow you to more easily see and avoid any birds within the vicinity.

4. Stay alert

Be aware of your surroundings when flying your drone. If you see birds nearby, fly your drone in a different direction or safely land and wait until the birds have moved away.

5. Fly at a safe altitude

Keep your drone at a safe altitude, above the height at which birds are likely to fly. This will reduce the risk of a bird strike.

6. Use obstacle avoidance systems

Many drones come equipped with obstacle avoidance systems that can help to detect and avoid birds. If using these systems, make sure you keep up to date with the latest software updates.

7. Take extra caution during migration season

During migration season, birds are more likely to be active and flying at different altitudes. Take extra caution during these times and wherever possible avoid flying your drone in areas where migratory birds are known to pass through.