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Perch pirates: Aussie twist on threat to deliveries arriving safely

November 3, 2021

Perch pirates: Aussie twist on threat to deliveries arriving safely

The saying goes that every animal in Australia is trying to kill you. Global technology giant Google recently learned the hard way that even machines aren’t exempt from this home truth.

The saying goes that every animal in Australia is trying to kill you. Global technology giant Google recently learned the hard way that even machines aren’t exempt from this home truth.

Google’s sister company Wing (both owned by parent company Alphabet) was forced to suspend drone delivery services through parts of Canberra after repeated aerial assaults from local fauna.

The capital city’s ravens were particularly unimpressed with the pilotless parcel purveyors, although magpies and wedge-tailed eagles – the only bird known to actively attack hang-gliders – have also swooped at the mechanical intruders.

You can view the video here: Raven attacks drone delivery in Canberra

In a statement to customers, Wing said it had “identified some birds in your area demonstrating territorial behaviours”, including swooping at moving objects.

“While this is common during nesting season, we are committed to being strong stewards of the environment, and would like to have ornithological experts investigate this further to ensure we continue to have minimal impact on birdlife in our service locations,” the statement said.

Smarter than your average bird

Ravens and crows (corvids) are notoriously intelligent, and their highly developed brains often earn them comparisons to primates rather than their winged contemporaries.

The animals first evolved in the landmass that would go on to become Australia, and it’s believed their keen problem-solving ability and long-term memory were developed in response to the drying of the continent.

In the wild, corvids have been observed dropping shellfish and nuts from the air in order to crack them open, and sometimes make and use tools.

It seems that, until Google finds a solution to the targeted ‘drone strikes’ by these feathered fiends, Wing’s delivery service is for the birds.

Sources:


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