Angry goose takes down my UAV

Preface: My fault, I should know better.  I've flown over to these geese on numerous occasions without incident. But this time I was controlling from further away and therefore my depth perception wasn't as keen.  I don't blame the goose all, however it is tempting to find him and cook him for dinner.

As soon as I saw the goose rear up and open his wings, I punched it but it was too late.  On the log you see full power commanded, and full power applied, but in the same instant, it was all over.  I took a direct hit from a large Canada Goose from probably 6ft AGL.  This was over the swampy edge of the lake behind my house. It flipped over and hit the water / mud upside down at a weird angle.  The only sound it made was a faint LiPo beeper which was clearly drowned.

So getting it back was when the real fun began.  It hit the swamp right next to their nest. If you've ever tried to walk up to a goose nest, you know that will be a problem.  Papa Goose is very protective, and he's still pretty pissed. I had to hop logs and rocks out into the water, and still ended up falling in.  Papa Goose wouldn't let me anywhere near it.  He got all hissy and tried to eat me when I tried.  So I ended up using a 12ft long tree limb to hook the landing skids, lift it up, and swing it over towards shore.  My neighbor was on the shore waiting to catch it.  The limb almost snapped from the weight of the UAV and two 4S 5000mah batteries.  And the honker was PISSED.

So I brought it back to the house and started assessing damage.  The dome popped off and cracked because I didn't put the screws back in (stupid).  The camera gimbal separated into two pieces (just glued together, so not a problem).  Wires were ripped out of one of the gimbal motors.  The mobius camera was wet.  The landing skids had detached in a few places.  The 3DR telemetry radio, GPS/Compass, and video transmitter were wet.  One prop was broken.  All the motors were wet.  And there was a splash or two on the APM.  The battery mounts had detached as well.

I took it all apart, opened everything up, and went at it with a hair dryer. After snapping the landing skids and battery mounts back on, and drying it all out, the only actual casualties are (1) gimbal motor, (1) battery beeper, and (1) plastic propeller. I put a new propeller on it and it flies perfectly fine, like nothing ever happened.

Won't be making that mistake again.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Maverick: Talk to me Goose.

  • Actually I fully expected the goose to react that way. I wasn't intending to get close enough to elicit the reaction.  Usually I'm higher and a little further back when filming this nest. But I was controlling from way further away than I usually do for this task for no good reason.  Being so far away, I didn't notice it creeping closer and lower. Daddy got pissed and reacted as expected...

  • Honest error, It sure seems you didn't expect goose to react that way. Best thing is for all to learn, don't approach wildlife. It's impossible to know how a particular species reacts to intrusions, unless you are a biologist doing some sort of study. Usually, you don't want to approach nesting locations. Some birds may abandon their chicks and that would be sad. -I've seen it on Discovery and PBS channels  so I'm just repeating what I've watched on TV. 

  • Hi bud, good video and a lesson for all that wants to learn. Thanks for sharing.

  • I don't think you should be anywhere near any living things with any kind of RC flying device. You could have easily killed that goose. I fly 12 UAVs, always away from any population or wildlife, it really irks me when I see people flying their quad copters over the public on local beaches. This is going to get our hobby banned. 

    The newspapers would have had a field day if you'd decapitated that goose, which is a real possibility. 

  • Perhaps I will make some time this week to get HAL drunk.

  • 100KM

    Indeed, you're better of cleaning and rinsing all the electronics with alcohol.  If any salt or mud residu has remained, the electronics may work fine now, but the fine legs of the IC's will start to corrode slowly and in a month orso the board will just fail (hopefully not in flight)

    I had my plane go down in a swamp and everything survided at first, but a month later the camera went dead.  Examination under a microscope revealed corrosion of the IC's legs.

    So keep an eye on the equipment that has been wet, even though it works fine now.

  • If you ever "get wet" again i would suggest 90% isopropyl alcohol flush first , with saltwater first distilled water then alcohol , the distilled water will clean bridging goop or salts off the circuit boards and the alcohol make the dry out process faster ,However wait until it flashes off before you hit it with a hair drier or You may go up in smoke LOL !!! This is the method we use in recovering flooded underwater electronics . 

    If that had been my room mate all you would have gotten back was tiny shredded pieces  !!! Macaws are known for Extreme Revenge  and Grudge holding(any where from a week to Months )  besides he fold pennies in half for fun !!!! My not so little Monster ...and best friend .

  • Great advice. Thanks!

  • I think it hit the front right arm from an angle below, which probably contributed to having less of an impact on the honker.  They were the cheap $0.75 plastic blades too, so it snapped immediately rather than "digging in".  I'm only guessing based on the video, since I was too far away to see that kind of detail (which is how I got in the situation to begin with).

    I'm quite sure he'll remember too.  I feel if I got back over there anytime soon, he'll probably be like "youuuuu!"

This reply was deleted.