“Whirlybirds” is a now nearly obsolete term originating as an informal word for helicopter. A syndicated TV show by the same name ran from 1957-1960 about two helicopter pilots performing their duties. The show was later renamed to “Copter Patrol” and the term has since fallen out of usage being replaced by “Copter ” or “Chopper”.
We chose the name Whirlybirds as we believe it gives a better impression of what it is we use these sport aircraft for. Unlike “Drones” typically used for military purposes in spying and other covert operations, our birds are the next generation of R/C (remote control) aircraft not at all related to military drones. The only thing common between drones and whirlybirds are that they are both in a class of aircraft known as UAVs (Unmanned Arial Vehicles).
Quadcopter is another common term used but it really describes only one style of whirlybird, those with four propellers, Hexacopter and Octocopter describe the same aircraft with different numbers of propellers. We don't care the number of propellers (any sport aircraft with more than one propeller is a whirlybird).
We hereby resurrect the term “Whirlybirds” defining it as a word describing the next generation of sport remote control aircraft. From this day on if you hear the term whirlybirds used to describe these sport aircraft, you'll know where it originated.
Multirotor could be considered another likely candidate but this term describes not only R/C sport aircraft but much heavier equipment used as tools in a growing number of fields for work by skilled operators who usually get paid for their services. Those are birds of a different feather.
Although there are cameras attached to whirlybirds the cameras are not intended (nor are they good at) viewing anything in detail at a distance. Over any distance greater then a couple hundred feet facial recognition or reading text is very difficult and at that distance whatever is being photographed can almost certainly hear what sounds like a swarm of bees nearby.
Whirlybirds make very bad covert surveillance devices. For that, binoculars, telescopes, parabolic microphones, and bugging equipment are the tools of professionals. Whirlybirds are for fun.