While they might seem like glorified toys for adults, drones are fantastic tools that can help people take some breathtaking photos and videos of their local scenery. Unfortunately, as is the case with most good technology, there are people out there who want to use them for nefarious purposes. This leads authorities to a tough question: how do you knock an illegal or dangerous drone out of the sky without harming those down below? The answer is simple: eagles.
That’s right; there are now people in this world that are training eagles to take out illegal drones. The Dutch National Police in the Netherlands are working out ways to effectively terminate illegal drone activity by working with a raptor training company called Guard From Above. They firmly believe that eagles can be taught how to identify drones, capture them, and deliver them safely away from the public. You can see them in action in this video:
Since the drone popularity explosion began, there has been much controversy surrounding the remote-controlled flying machines. There have been stories of drones dropping drug deliveries into prisons, as well as armed drones exploiting semi-automatic weapons or even toting explosives on the front lines. Another major domestic concern is that of privacy, as drones often come equipped with cameras. Plus, considering how drones can potentially mess with other aircraft, their use naturally has to be limited in certain places. These reasons are part of why governments want to crack down on the use of drones in unauthorized locations.
If you think about it, hunting illegal drones with eagles would be a great, low-tech way of handling the drone problem. Birds of prey like the bald eagle, golden eagle, and others, are generally at the top of the avian food chain, so what better way to hunt down flying machines than with natural born aerial predators? There are some other ways to do it, like using other drones with nets, shooting them out of the sky, or jamming their sensors, but these tactics are somewhat difficult to maneuver around without endangering people in the nearby vicinity. If trained properly, the Dutch police force seems to think that eagles can snatch drones out of the sky and deliver them safely to the ground without incident.
Still, a common cause for concern is that the drones might, in some way, pose a threat to these birds of prey. What would happen if an eagle were to be hurt by the drone’s propeller blades, or if the drone is weaponized in some way? Should eagles be wearing protective armaments on their talons? While these details are being worked out, it’s likely that the practice of hunting drones with eagles won’t be a set-in-stone practice for some time, though it remains a viable option until proven otherwise.
Still, it seems that eagles are more than capable of taking out drones relatively effectively, though wild eagles are more likely to just see the drone as a threat and knock it out of the sky, rather than make sure it’s delivered to the authorities. Here’s another video that shows a slow-motion attack on a drone from a wedge-tailed eagle in Australia.
These powerfully-built birds of prey are definitely strong enough to stop drones in their tracks, but are they an effective countermeasure to more dangerous variants of drones?