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Old Aug 08, 2014, 11:25 AM
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"WHEN ANIMALS ATTACK!" - share your stories and videos of animal encounters.

As someone with a passion for wildlife, the ability to interact with animals as a "bird" is a large part of the appeal and enjoyment of flying ornithopters. I have several ornis but my favorites are the small ones that require less space so I can keep the action close to me. ;-)
Living in the country I have had encounters with blue jays, blackbirds, grackles, hummingbirds, mourning doves, a red fox,.... the list goes on. And I routinely fly with a large family of barn swallows that seem to enjoy playing with me and showing off.
I'm starting this thread because I love reading other posts scattered around this forum about animal encounters, and I'd love to read more! Please feel free to share stories and videos! Thanks.

- DaVinci's Brainchild
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Old Aug 08, 2014, 01:43 PM
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After waiting more than a week to try out a new set of wings i designed on a small ornithopter, I was getting anxious for a wind free day. So I decided to get up early before work and try them in the still morning air. The sun had not yet reached the horizon and there was a slight fog above the ground. I tossed the bird into the air and flew it around a bit before deciding I'd better quit and get ready for work. As I was gliding it in for a landing in front of me, something behind me and to my left caught my attention. As I turned to look I saw a red fox running from the near forest edge across the yard and making a straight line for my ornithopter!! If I had been in my right mind I would have ran for my grounded bird to make sure I got there first and the fox didn't carry it off. But I didn't think, I was too shocked. I'm not sure if the fox didn't see me there because he was just so focused on his potential meal, or maybe cause there was a tree or two in the way. Or maybe he DID see me and didn't care because I hadn't seen him yet. Ither way, as I watched him run at my orni I made a small audible expression of disbelief which suddenly jarred his attention to me. He looked at me with an expression of his own shock and quickly stopped dead in his tracks, did a 180, and retreated back into the forest. And as he ran away from me all I could think was " where the hell is my camera when I need it!" Lol
I had always kept an eye on the tree line for hawks and falcons, but I never thought I would have to keep an eye on the ground for a fox!

- DaVinci's Brainchild
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Old Sep 25, 2014, 08:12 PM
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Now that the barn swallows I fly with have begun migrating south I fly my swallow ornithopter alone. This evening I was hawking the bugs in my 7 acre front yard when out of the corner of my eye I spotted what I thought was a crow coming to check out my bird. As it made a bee line for my bird and came into clear sight I realized it was NOT a crow, it was a Peregrine Falcon!!! I'm a skilled pilot and my bird is highly maneuveable, but that Peregrine could have taken my swallow away before I even knew what had happened. Lol. Luckily for me the Peregrine is among the corvids as the most intelligent of birds. As he moved in on my swallow he realized it was not food and passed by it. He then made a tight circle around the swallow and I (as i stood there in amazement) before continuing on his way. I've never been SO close to a truely wild Peregrine in the wild before!! I think it was a good 15 minutes before my heart slowed down. Lol
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Old Sep 28, 2014, 08:00 AM
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from an earlier post in Micro RTF >


When I lived in Nashville, a male Redtail would fly from his roost on a nearby hill whenever he saw my car coming. Then he would circle as his "friend", an 8ft span Hobie Hawk sailplane with a very red tail, would come out if its box in the trunk and get assembled, and he keep on circling as the high-start got laid out

Finally, the live hawk and the R/C one would fly in formation in thermals and play around in the sky.



Note 1: I am a skilled and experienced sailplane pilot, so once launched, in thermally TN, on any given launch I had an 80% chance of an hour+ flight, so long as I kept the plane above 600 ft.

Note 2: Middle TN is a Raptor Flyway, and most of them, passing through, are extremely NON-territorial [once a passing Gold Eagle pair, in tight formation, joined the thermal circle, still in their pair formation, with one of my larger sailplanes for one circuit before continuing on their journey]. This young male Redtail lived there, but followed the same non-aggressive "rules". The locals flying powered R/C airplanes were often NOT nice to my young friend [he started coming out if he thought a red powered plane was mine], but he was a far better flier and was always able to easily evade their adolescent stupidity [I mean, THESE raptors were friendly!].


Lee
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Old Sep 28, 2014, 08:06 AM
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more from before > A Hawk's Tale (w/ apologies to Chaucer)

When I used to live in Middle Tennessee (which is a raptor flyway: lots of thermals and nice things for them to eat!), one male Redtail took a fancy to my red-tailed Hobie Hawk high-performance R/C sailplane and when he'd see my car would fly out from his hill and circle overhead till his friend came out of the trunk, got assembled and came up to join him. This happened throughout an entire season, and we showed off and amiably played together for several hours total accumulated thermal time.

Then in the fall someone asked me to test his new sailplane which also happened to have a red tail. As I cored out in a thermal, the bird shot out to the plane, seemed to strike it and something fell down. The startled owner ran off after the slowly tumbling object, shouting that the hawk had knocked off the plane's canopy. Several minutes later he returned, not with the canopy, but with a heavy elliptical leaf with a perfect talon hole where my feathered friend had plucked the leaf (it came from trees only growing on the hill where the bird stayed) and gallantly/playfully presented it to the glider that was obviously too stupid and inept to catch it! There were many witnesses. My falconry and Wildlife expert contacts told me they knew of eagles playing "catch a fly is up" with sticks and a hole in the ice as target, but the easy to catch tumbling leaf trick could be common for these hawks, just never noticed, since NO hawk could miss such a target....and they played their game HIGH up.

I noted that if this had happened in Biblical times it would have been considered a "sign". As it was, months later when I was in Aspen renting a place from an electrician, one of his customers called and left a message, saying for him to call Annie Denver. I'd been thinking about John's cute "OH, God!" film, got the dumb idea that I had a message for John (re: world peace instead of his selfishness [you know, hawks, war, that kind of thing]), called the number and was amazed that John said he was expecting that message.

Back to the fall. The sailplane and the redtail continued upwards and were joined by more redtails. Jump to the spring. A friend had just returned from a John Denver concert in Atlanta and I asked him if it was any good. He said it was, but that the funny thing was that at the end of the concert John talked about world peace for 45 min. I asked how that went over and was told the audience liked it even better than the concert!

True story (many witnesses). Don't know what happened to the hawks or plane afterwards (the flight ended nicely), but the leaf is somewhere.

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Old Oct 10, 2014, 01:52 PM
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Kiki & Tim

OK, no one has added to this, so I post some pics of Kiki having fun in my living room with rubberband TIM bird and then Avitron V1.0 [following post}

L
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Old Oct 10, 2014, 02:34 PM
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Kiki & Avitron

Note: as shown, Kiki learned from personal experience how not to have any more midairs with the Avitrons [in which 5x heavier Kiki always kept flying while accidentally* downing the Avitron]


*Well, at least one time it would seem it was likely NOT a pure "accident": he hit it directly square in the chest . His intelligent understanding -- from experience -- was that the Avitron could withstand and survive being downed [he also often knocks down his rubber bird-figure toys, sending them flying up to 2m/6ft, asking them first, "Do you want to play ball ...?" ]
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Old Oct 10, 2014, 06:52 PM
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This is a YouTube video I posted showing Kiki watching the unfortunately un-copyable video from which the blurry screen shots were "snipped".

Normally he can speak English quite clearly, but he was seriously wound up and excited by his Avitron, so I have no idea what he was saying beyond, "You are such a Ki Ki Ki Ki", then " ..... "Be Be Be" [maybe "Bubbie", blended with "Kiki"]


Kiki + Kiki [bird watching] (0 min 26 sec)
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Old Oct 22, 2014, 12:42 PM
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Wildlife: flying with birds (5 min 44 sec)
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Old Oct 22, 2014, 09:50 PM
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Great video Robert thanks for sharing
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Old Oct 22, 2014, 10:11 PM
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Yes Robert thanks for sharing that. It's truly another world up there.
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Old Oct 23, 2014, 12:12 AM
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awesome FPV clip!
regards
Sam
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Old Oct 23, 2014, 02:32 AM
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Rc Seagull thermalling with White Storks (3 min 41 sec)


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Old Oct 23, 2014, 03:26 AM
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That reminds me of a calm cold morning some winters ago when I was cold-weather testing one of my pre-production Airider RC electric sailplanes. There was a flock of white gulls with black wingtips resting on the slightly snowy grass. When they saw the Airider circle up they all immediately decided to join it in the "thermal". Their genetic understanding obviously did not encompass E-power and some followed the plane -- a canard design, pre-prdn. white with large black plastic main-wing subfins -- around the circle as the plane quickly outclimbed their strenuous flapping efforts. Some placed themselves confidently above the Airider, stilled their flapping and had to move out of the way as the Airider spiralled up through them.

Very cute and pretty to watch. Successful cold-test for the Airider and some exercise for the gulls ....


Lee
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Old Nov 17, 2014, 01:37 AM
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I have a question for bluefalconhollan-

As someone who has hunted with birds of prey, do you have any advice on what kind of evasive maneuvers I should take if my barn swallow ornithopter is pursued by a falcon or hawk again?? Do they have any limitations I can exploit to my advantage to save my ornithopter??
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