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Concern Over Protected NJ Shore Birds Postpones Drone Testing

By David Madden

CAPE MAY, N.J. (CBS) -- The New Jersey Institute of Technology wants to try using small, unmanned aircraft as a means to improve communications in the event of a disaster.   But federal officials have ordered a delay in those tests, and the reason is, literally, "for the birds."

Piping plovers and red knots, to be exact, which migrate to New Jersey coastal waters this time of year.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service says there are fears the birds might collide with the drones.

So, NJIT professor Michael Chumer has to grin and bear it.

"I just sort of shrugged my shoulders and said that's OK -- we will live with a seasonal restriction that allows us to fly from 1 November to March 15th," Chumer tells KYW Newsradio.

Plans are to use an area at the US Coast Guard training center in Cape May for those tests.

Chumer says the delay won't put a real dent in his research.



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