Drones used to harass Sandpoint ospreys

The City of Sandpoint has received reports recently of drones being flown at War Memorial Field and disturbing the resident osprey.

As a reminder to residents and visitors, Memorial Field is home to two active osprey nests. Osprey are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is a federal offense to disturb active nests, and a person can be held liable if any bird of prey is injured or killed.

Federal law 50 CFR 19.11, section 2, states “No person shall use an aircraft to harass any wildlife.”

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and U.S. Forest Service regarding the use of unmanned aircraft systems, drones should not be flown over or near wildlife as this can “create stress that may cause significant harm, and even death.”

Intentional disturbance of animals during breeding, nesting, rearing of young, or other critical life history functions is not allowed unless approved as research or management. These agencies also note that UAS should be launched more than 100 meters (328 feet) from wildlife.

To report any disturbance or harassment of the osprey at Memorial Field, please call the non-emergency number for the Sandpoint Police Department at (208) 265-1482.

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