Drone-catching eagle photo goes viral – Can an Eagle Catch a Drone?

Drone-catching eagle photo goes viral Can an Eagle Catch a Drone?

In February 2019, an image supposedly showing an eagle catching a drone was widely circulated on Facebook along with the caption “The Picture of the Century. Nature defeats Technology”:


The image received thousands of likes and comments and got shared over half a million times.

Many people wondered whether this was a real photo or if it was photoshopped.

This is in fact a genuine photograph of an eagle catching a drone. It was taken by photographer Koen Van Weel in March 2016 and documents a trained eagle from the “Guard from Above” company wrapping its talons around a drone during a police exercise in the Netherlands. The image is available via Getty Images. where it is presented with the caption “An eagle of the Guard from Above company, grasps a drone during a police exercise in Katwijk, on March 7, 2016. The bird of prey can get drones from the air by catching them with his legs.”

A 2016 video report from BBC News showed these eagles, and other birds of prey, in action with drones:


In early 2016, Netherland police decided to train eagles to catch drones. The thought behind this was that the eagle’s sharp talons would be no match for a drone and they would be able to quickly pluck them from the sky. The use of the birds was going to protect various air spaces from drones. Places such as airports and other secure areas where drones were not supposed to fly would be monitored, and if needed, an eagle would be sent to retrieve any drones that violated air laws


What actually happened, was the birds were distracted during training and not up to par with what was needed in the field.

Since the eagles didn’t always do as they were expected to, it made it hard on the cops to safely send the birds into these restricted areas. Many animal lovers also feared that the Eagles would be injured by the fast-moving blades if they were only slightly off aim on their target drone.


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