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Drone, Pellet Gun and Protected Bird Mix Into Novel Confrontation in Palm Coast’s C-Section

| February 17, 2016

purple martin

John J. Audubon describes the purple martin’s powergul ability to fly against wind: ‘They meet the gust, and appear to slide along the edges of it, as if determined not to lose one inch of what they have gained. ‘ (Wikimedia Commons)

It was a matter of time before drones would go from rare curiosities to more frequent (and noisy) sights immediately overhead. Conflict could not be far behind. One such conflict developed on Palm Coast’s Collingwood Lane last week between two neighbors who’ve had issues with each other for two years.

Bryan Streetman is a 47-year-old resident of 25 Collingwood Lane, parallel to Palm Harbor Parkway. He owns a drone he told police is federally registered. Philip Lowe lives next door at 29 Collingwood. Both properties front canal waters. Last Thursday afternoon Streetman was flying his drone in mid-afternoon when Lowe came out of his backyard with what appeared to be “an unknown type of gun” and said something not wholly intelligible to Streetman, according to a sheriff’s office incident report. All Streetman heard was the word “shoot.” He didn’t know if Lowe intended to shoot him or the drone, he told police, and didn’t know what kind of gun it was.

Streetman acknowledged, however, that Lowe never pointed the gun at him or in his direction. Streetman thought that Lowe was upset because he was under the impression Streetman was harassing birds in the area.

He was right. Lowe told a deputy that Streetman was harassing purple martins, a noble, assertive type of bird common east of the Rockies that makes its home amid human habitations. (“These birds are extremely courageous, persevering, and tenacious of what they consider their right,” John J. Audubon wrote of the martin.) The martin is considered “secure” by the Nature Conservancy, though it’s shown some unexplained population declines in recent years in some areas of the country.

Lowe told the deputy that Streetman had complained that the birds were “messing up” his property, and that Lowe was upset that his neighbor was trying to scare them away. Previously, Lowe told the deputy, Streetman had used a sound device to scare off the bird, and was required to stop using it by code enforcement. The drone, in Lowe’s view, was a different way of “harassing” the birds.

But Lowe acknowledge saying that he would shoot the drone down. (The weapon was determined to be a pellet gun.)

Fish and Wildlife Commission officer Eric Meade said the birds are federally protected from being taken or hunted. If Streetman was chasing the birds with the drone intentionally, the officer said, it may be considered harassment of the birds, “but it would have to be witnessed and there would need to be established intent to harass,” according to the incident report.

Both neighbors were given verbal warnings: Streetman was warned not to harass the birds, and Lowe was warned not to brandish a weapon that could be mistaken for a firearm. But no crime was determined to have occurred either way.

Incidents involving private use of drones have been increasing as as laws and rules have yet to gain currency with some drone users. There’s been no drone-related legal issues in Flagler County as yet–no arrests–but there’s been a few across the country. Last September a man was arrested for flying a drone within 50 feet of a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter. (Federal rules prohibit drone flights within certain distances of airfields, but that helicopter was on a search mission for a suspect). On Feb. 4, a man was arrested in Manhattan for operating a drone near the Empire State Building, because operating the drone created “substantial risk of physical injury to pedestrians,” according to the complaint against him.

And in late January a man in Greenville, N.C., was twice arrested on felony charges for allegedly operating a drone near a helicopter flying in or out Vidant Medical Center, a hospital in Greenville.

13 Responses for “Drone, Pellet Gun and Protected Bird Mix Into Novel Confrontation in Palm Coast’s C-Section”

  1. El KaBong says:

    Can’t wait until they use the drones to deliver Medical Marijuana !!!!

  2. Maiden says:

    if I see a drone over my backyard (backs up to woods) and shoot it down, using a pellet gun, will I get in warning?
    I have every intention of doing so. Violates my privacy in my fenced in yard.

  3. Delphine Meyers says:

    Check police report of Feb 14 2016. I live across the canal from this man and my home is being bombarded by lazer beams 12 hous a day and so far no help from the city. On my way to see an attorney
    I have no rights?

  4. Philip Lowe says:

    The story does not tell that he is also bombarding the area with laser beams, from a commercial machine, that are entering homes and hitting people. His done also has props on that make noise that is offensive to birds. .FWC and US Game with not stop this because they can not find the word Harassment in the laws that protect these native songbirds.

  5. Edman says:

    I think the bird pictured is a grackle not a purple martin…

  6. confidential says:

    Totally agree with Maiden. These drones are going to cause a major commercial airline disaster not to far from today, loss of lives and material damages. Also the loss of privacy when it comes neighbors in ill disputes. But once more greed wins over our safety and privacy issues including endangering wildlife like those poor being don’t have enough to worry about already. These are the corporations that lobby Washington and control the FAA and our country.
    If someone doesn’t like wildlife messing up their water front properties why the hell they buy water front…hello? I am going to start shopping for a good sling shot in case a drone starts invading my space too will be a very quiet solution…just wait to come close enough after mooning by the window.. Effective way David killed Goliath!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    @ maiden and confidential if you do decide to shoot down one of them make very sure it is above your property and not just in sight of your property. Also get a good pellet gun as that will be more accurate and just as quiet as a sling shot.

  8. Philip Lowe says:

    I agree with Edman, you’re right…it is too large for a Purple Martin and the bird pictured doesn’t have the forked tail. A description is: Purple Martins are very large, broad-chested swallows. They have stout, slightly hooked bills, short, forked tails, and long, tapered wings. They are known to eat their weight in insects, especially mosquitoes, each day. Good descriptions and their value are noted on several Purple Martin websites. With the new Ziva virus that has been discovered in several areas of FL and carried by mosquitoes, we should all have these beautiful & beneficial birds in our neighborhoods

  9. FlaglerLive says:

    Thank you to those of you ho informed us of the previous image not being a Purple Martin, and especially to Jason Giraulo, the man behind Palm Coast’s annual Bird of a Feather Fest, who sent us the correct picture you see now.

  10. Bryan Streetman says:

    Streetman Here!

    As we all know there are at least 2 sides to every story. Let me give you my side before you make a judgement.

    I moved to Palm Coast just over 2 years ago and have had nothing but trouble with Mr Lowe. As soon as I moved in he wanted to start putting boats on my dock. I told him I did not want boats on my dock as it would take away from my view. I also didn’t want strangers coming and going from my back yard especially as I have a pool with no cage around it. When I went to Michigan for the holidays for that first year Mr Lowe placed a boat on my dock and then proceeded to cut the tie wraps off my gate so that people could come and go as desired. Trying to be a good neighbor I just let it go when I found the tie wraps had been cut from the gates.

    A couple of years ago Mr Lowe purchased an RV. With the RV parked in his driveway he didn’t have enough room for his cars so one day he asked if he could park in my driveway for the night. I agreed he could park in my driveway THAT night however Mr Lowe started parking in my driveway on a regular basis. On a number of different occasions I would arrive home from a business trip only to find Mr Lowe’s car in my driveway almost blocking me from getting in my own garage. Again trying to be a good neighbor I let it go. After several weeks/months of dealing with Mr Lowe parking in my driveway I finally asked him to stay out of my driveway after he made derogatory comments about my girlfriend being in his way while she was parked in my driveway. Unfortunately this wasn’t the end of the driveway issue. Last year when I was out of town for a few days I returned home only to find out from the neighbors that Mr Lowe had parked his motor home in my driveway without my permission. Needless to say I was very unhappy to find out a very heavy and large motor home had been parked in my driveway without my knowledge or permission. Luckily it did not crack or break my concrete.

    About a year ago while on a business trip I received a phone call from Mr Lowe. He called me to tell me he had trees trimmed. When I arrived home I found my palm trees had been given a hurricane cut. Again I was furious as it was well after hurricane season and there was nothing left of my palm trees. A year later they finally look like palm trees again. Why on earth would you cut someone else’s palm trees without their knowledge or permission? Again trying to be a good neighbor I let it go.

    I believe Mr Lowe is also in a boat club and provides services to boaters coming through the area. On several occasions now Mr Lowe has had boats come into the area and dock on my neighbors dock for varying lengths of time. Most of the time these people are staying on their boats which is against the law in the city of Palm Coast. The problem I have with this is I paid a premium to live on the water not a KOA campground. I now have strangers essentially camping in my back yard right outside my windows. How would you like a stranger putting up a tent and camping in your back yard?
    Last summer was the straw that finally broke my back. Early in the summer I started noticing a lot of birds in the area. I started watching and found the birds were living in bird houses on Mr Lowe’s property. At that time there were approximately 20 bird houses on his property, I believe 8 more that Mr Lowe had put on the property next door, 8 more across the canal and 8 more just a few houses down the canal. With around 43 bird houses in the general vicinity and most of them being next to my property came a LOT of birds and a LOT of bird crap.

    So let me ask you folks, how would you like the following?

    Hundreds of birds screaming their heads off starting at 7am EVERY morning
    Hundreds of birds crapping all over everything you own EVERY day
    Someone trimming your trees without your permission
    Someone constantly parking in your driveway blocking half of your garage
    Someone camping on a boat right outside your back windows
    Strangers running through your back yard
    Your neighbor coming on your property whenever he wants
    Not knowing what your neighbor is going to do on your property next

    This (and more) is what I have been living with for over 2 years now!!!

  11. Colleen Ajram says:

    There is code enforcement for a reason. Use it. There is also trespassing which is a police matter, Use them. There are also lots of realtors in the area. Use them.

  12. Delphine Meyers says:

    Well GOOD MORNING PALM COAST. The policeman did his job. Code enforcement did thier job. Our Attorney did his job. The birds are singing and the laser is gone. And I’m doing my HAPPY dance. Palm Coast should be proud that we have good people who we can turn to. A job well done. However I’m just waiting for this guy to try and think of something else for us to deal with and deal with we will. Until then every thing is right with our beautiful world. Thanks again to all of you who supported us.

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