Robot bird given extra powers to scare off pesky pigeons

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Edinburgh, Feb 20 (ANI): A robotic bird has been rebooted with extra features that would enable it to scare off pesky pigeons.

Earlier, the robot, invented by John Donald, an entrepreneur with a science background, couldn't fool some particularly wily pigeons.

Known as Robop, it has been sold around the world, but has failed to prove effective in some environments, puzzling its creators.

"We had some great successes, but in other places it hasn't worked so well and we didn't really understand why," Donald said.

The problem came to a head when a glass factory in Thailand came seeking a deterrent for pigeons from inside the building.

"Our bird was really designed to work outside and high up on top of buildings, not inside, so it was a tricky one for us," Donald said.

Now, according to a report in The Scotsman, the artificial avian has been given new powers to terrify hapless victims.

In a bid to find a solution to the problems at hand, Robop turned to Interface, a body funded by Scottish universities, which links research departments with businesses.

Through Interface, Donald met Dr Will Cresswell from St Andrews University's biology department.

Dr Cresswell used his 20 years of experience studying the behaviour of avian prey and predators to pinpoint the problem.

"The movement of its head and the screeching noise it made got the attention of the birds and they saw it as a real and present danger," he said. "But birds, like humans, after a time are not fooled any more," he added.

After a while, the exhausted birds are forced to land, he explained, and when Robop doesn't attack, they quickly realize there is nothing to fear.

The solution was to add wheels to Robop so it can be moved in and out of a hiding place at unpredictable times.

"If Robop disappears, it has the same effect next time it pops out and eventually the birds are scared, so often, they give up," Dr Cresswell added.

Robop is now used in 15 countries to deter bird pests from a variety of places. (ANI)

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