Tag Archives: birds

Dutch police have a new ally in the fight against illegal drones

Bald eagles have long been a symbol of freedom, justice, and downright bad-assery for Americans. The bald eagle is such a majestic creature that is widely adored by many, but Dutch Police are taking these creatures to a whole new level of awesome.

Eagles and falcons have many uses, but Dutch police are using them to solve a relatively new problem: drones. Just about anyone can buy a drone, and as awesome as that is, it’s also caused issues with privacy and safety. Drones have even become an issue at sporting events. Just recently, Marcel Hirscher, a skiing star, just barely evaded being hit by a falling drone which was being used by a broadcasting company. The drones operator was told to stay outside of the the course and at least 15 meters away from the athlete. The operator failed to do this and the drone fell from the sky, narrowly missing Hirscher. Because of this incident, The International Ski Federation banned camera drones from all of its events.

Bald eagles are expert drone-catchers. Graphic from Daily Mail
Bald eagles are expert drone-catchers. Graphic from Daily Mail

Although drones have been banned in many scenarios and by many organizations, event officials and police have had a hard time confronting the issue without causing even more issues. Drone-catchers, which are larger drones that expel an net and capture illegal drones, aren’t exactly fool-proof just yet. Other methods, such as shooting the drones out of the air, cause another safety issue because many times, the drones are overhead of large crowds.

Dutch police have come up with a pretty graceful solution to this issue: bald eagles. That’s right, bald eagles are being trained to scoop drones out of the sky. Just as falcons and eagles have been used in sporting events to fly over the crowd, sometimes with a GoPro camera, eagles are now being trained to take down illegal drones. The reason this is the ideal solution? While drone catchers may swing their nets and hit an unintended target, or knock a drone out of the sky and onto a crowd, eagles can swoop in to grab the drone and take it to a safe area.

While there have been some concerns for the safety of the birds, eagles scaled feet and sharp talons protect them from the blades that enable the drones to fly. The eagles also have excellent vision which allows them to see the blades separately instead of just a big blur. This allows the birds to very accurately grasp the center of the drone and avoid injury. Besides their physical ability to stop drones in their tracks, the birds naturally dislike drones and tend to show a bit of territoriality towards the machines when they’re used in the birds natural habitat.

Overall, this is a huge win-win for both man and beast: man uses the beast to serve a security purpose, while the beast gets to spread his wings and tackle something they see as a threat. Along with full-fledged attacks on the drone, we can harness the birds intelligence and abilities to actually retrieve the drone without endangering any by-standers.

The only regret I have about this idea is that the Dutch thought of it first, and not the country that adores eagles and taking down domestic terrorists (the United States).

Sexy aliens? Science says probably not

We humans (or at least, the geekier specimens among us) seem obsessed with human-on-alien action. From the countless conquests of Captain Kirk to the untamed Na’vi beauty Neytiri, science fiction is replete with tales of uninhibited extraterrestrials that know just how to get our motors running.

But is it really likely that even if we’re not alone in the universe, our galactic neighbors will want to pay conjugal visits? Probably not. Continue reading Sexy aliens? Science says probably not