How to Spot Drones at Night | Three Things to Help You Find Drones in the Dark

Drones can be a real nuisance at times. Yes, they have a vast array of commercial applications. Their importance in search and rescue missions is vital too. But, they can spy on people just as easily too, which can be a real pain if you’re on the receiving end of it. If you’re worried someone is using drones to spy on you and your family every now and then, then “how to spot drones at night” is the obvious question you’ll be asking.

Luckily, we have all the answers you need, so let’s get right into it!

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How to Spot Drones at Night?

Spotting a drone at night doesn’t take a nuclear physicist! However, If you’re 100% sure someone is spying on you or your family, don’t wait – alert the authorities right away. But, before you call 911, you should know that spying with drones isn’t as easy as one might think. Drones can’t present their pilots with detailed imagery of distant objects/people. 

Even if they could, though, they don’t have cameras that can “see” in the dark very well. So, in 99% of cases, you should be fine. We’ll touch on that topic later on. For now, let’s focus on the three main ways how to spot drones at night!

Be on the Lookout for Red/Green Lights

If you’re looking for info on how to spot drones at night, the first thing you should pay attention to are bright lights that make for quite the contrast on the dark sky. Typically, you’ll see either a combination of red and green, or yellow LEDs. They’re deliberately insanely bright and have different colors so that drone pilots can recognize which direction their drone is facing.

Follow the Buzzing Sound

No matter how quiet a drone is, you can always hear it if it’s close enough to shoot actual videos of you. If you can hear a high-pitched buzzing sound that sounds artificial (unlike f.e. bees and hornets), then just follow it around until you find the source. As explained earlier, especially if it’s night, you’ll easily notice the drone because of its bright LEDs.

  • Check out the best quiet drones to buy

Use Advanced Tools

If you’re desperate to find out if you got some unwanted unmanned aerial guests, then you can pursue other techniques too. These involve advanced tools that can, among other things, tell you whether or not you’re dealing with drones.

Installing infrared light motion detection sensors in an area you believe is getting unwanted visitors can help you find out who those visitors are.

Another helpful method are acoustic sensors… assuming the area you’re targeting is silent at night, that is.

The third method for spotting drones at night using advanced techniques involves radio frequencies. We won’t go into too many details here, because this is a topic that requires a hefty article on its own. Instead, we’ll just point you in the direction of anti-drone radio frequency detectors. A simple Google search will tell you all you need to know!


Can Drones See Me From Big Heights?

If you can barely see a drone at night, that means it’s far enough for you to be safe from any spying. You see, most high-end prosumer drones don’t come equipped with optical zoom sensors good enough to spy on you from such heights. They need to come a lot closer to be able to differentiate smaller objects and people with enough details.

On a slightly different note, finding drones with night vision isn’t going to be cheap. They’re expensive and don’t really payout if all the buyer is interested in is spying on someone.

That said, even if you do spot drones at night, you shouldn’t be concerned… unless they’re constantly flying within 50 feet of you and pointing directly at you. Most of the time, it’s just some enthusiast living near you showing off his new toy to his/her friends. You can relax!


Wrapping Things Up

Having drones fly over your property is a nuisance, but not one you should immediately follow up with a 911 call. It’s people having fun, accept it. As long as they are not entering your personal space or specifically recording your stuff, if they are just flying over your property to reach their destination, then there’s no need to think twice about it. Don’t be one of those people who call the cops and get people in trouble just for playing around with their high-tech toys.

Larry Haller