Say goodbye to those little owl statuettes you put in your garden to scare away pigeons. The science of bird-deterrence has taken leaps and bounds, led by the Dutch company Clear Flight Solutions. Their goal? To better keep small birds away from hazard zones, such as airports, wind turbines, or landfills (from which birds sometimes eat and spread disease). In doing so, they could save about a billion dollars in damages and flight delays (not to mention the lives of thousands of birds, some endangered).

Their strategy? They have produced a robotic Peregrine Falcon (and have a prototype Bald Eagle), made of 3-D printed nylon and glass, plus battery power and foam wings. These robobirds were designed to perfectly mimic the flight patterns of their biological parallels, so the RoboPeregrine travels with short, quick wing flaps, just like a real Peregrine. By directly imitating predator-prey relationships, these robotic predators can create an Ecology of Fear-- that is, the effect of a single predator is far beyond merely the amount of prey is consumes.

3-D printing, robotic raptors, saving money, and saving birds: this is undoubtedly the best news of the year. Thanks to Max de la Bruyere for finding the article!