Plans to launch a drone aircraft to take photos of salmon-munching seabirds nesting on the Oregon coast have been scrubbed for lack of a permit.
The Federal Aviation Administration has told the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife it needs one to fly even a tiny unmanned aircraft over the offshore rocks near Pacific City that are home to nesting cormorants.
The drone was developed by engineering students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, who found out about the permit problem after getting to Oregon.
Lindsay Adrean, the predatory bird coordinator for the Oregon agency, says it hopes to get the permit in time for next year's nesting season.
She says the idea is to show drones are cheaper and more accurate than the current surveys, which use full-size helicopters.