Falconers: Plan to fight drones with birds very dangerous

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No image availableNL Times

The Netherlands police plan to use eagles and other birds of prey to catch drones from the air. Falconers are baffled by this plan, calling it nonsensical and dangerous, newspaper AD reports.

A demonstration video the police published last week shows a bald eagle plucking a small drone from the air. But according to falconers, viewers are given the wrong idea in the demo. The eagle grabs a small, hovering consumers drone, with soft plastic propellers. Where professional drones can fly between 70 and 300 kilometers per hour and way 3 kilos or more. "That will make mincemeat out of an eagle." Robert Muster, a falconer in Enschede, said to the newspaper.

According to Musters, eagles are totally unsuitable for drone hunting. They use thermals when flying, which is why they live in the mountains. Over the flat country side of the Netherlands, eagles can fly 50 meters at the most before being exhausted, he said to the newspaper. The birds may even pose a danger to humans. "If an eagle can not catch his prey, he may become so frustrated that he picks up something else. Eagle talons are so strong that it can easily pierce a child's head."

Falconer Tula Stapert from Voorst agrees with Musters assessment, adding that she is shocked that the police did not seek advice on falconry before coming up with the plan. She started a petition and campaign to stop the plan.