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With drones a hot Christmas gift, a Bay Area park district warns of restrictions

With many drones expected as Christmas gifts, a San Francisco Bay Area park district is reminding people that flying them on park property could ground the pilot with a hefty fine.

The Contra Costa Times reports Thursday that the East Bay Regional Park District is reminding the public that motorized, remote-controlled aircraft are not only illegal to fly over its parks, but could pose a danger to helicopters and planes and disturb wildlife and park visitors.

Cindy Margulis, executive director of Golden Gate Audubon Society, says recreational drones can scare birds away from essential activities such as feeding, roosting and nesting.

Even registered drones are banned at the regional parks. Citations for violating the drone ordinance cost about $300.

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The Federal Aviation Administration this week began requiring drone owners to register with the agency before flying them outside.

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