During the 1911 Paris to Madrid air race, French pilot Eugene Gilbert encountered an angry mother eagle over the Pyrenees. Gilbert, flying an open-cockpit Bleriot XI, was able to ward off the large bird by firing pistol shots at it but did not kill it.
Birds of prey are being trained to prevent terror attacks in France, after being recruited by the country’s air force.
A team of four eagles is being trained to bring down remote-controlled drones when they stray into unauthorised airspace.
It is feared that terror groups could use drones – types of which can be bought from toy stores – packed with explosives to target civilians or military landmarks.
Experts believe training eagles to deal with threatening drones is far safer than using bullets to shoot them down.
Air force general Jean-Christophe Zimmerman told Reuters: ‘These eagles can spot the drones several thousand metres away and neutralize them.’
He said the idea came from police trials in the Netherlands.
The birds are being trained to grab or halt the drones. Before they hatched, they were placed on top of drones before being kept there during their early feeding period. …
Eagles have a grip 10 times more powerful than a human, making them ideal to deal with large unmanned drones.
Hong-Kong based photojournalist Palani Mohan recently delivered a TED Talk in Sydney describing his personal project photographing the last surviving Eagle Hunters in the Altai Mountains in Western Mongolia.
His photographs were featured in Mother Jones last December.
The BBC did a recent feature of a 13-Year-Old Kazakh girl who is carrying on an unusual form of traditional hunting.
Most children, Asher Svidensky says, are a little intimidated by golden eagles. Kazakh boys in western Mongolia start learning how to use the huge birds to hunt for foxes and hares at the age of 13, when the eagles sit heavily on their undeveloped arms. Svidensky, a photographer and travel writer, shot five boys learning the skill – and he also photographed Ashol-Pan.
“To see her with the eagle was amazing,” he recalls. She was a lot more comfortable with it, a lot more powerful with it and a lot more at ease with it.”
The Kazakhs of the Altai mountain range in western Mongolia are the only people that hunt with golden eagles, and today there are around 400 practising falconers. Ashol-Pan, the daughter of a particularly celebrated hunter, may well be the country’s only apprentice huntress.
They hunt in winter, when the temperatures can drop to -40C (-40F). A hunt begins with days of trekking on horseback through snow to a mountain or ridge giving an excellent view of prey for miles around. Hunters generally work in teams. After a fox is spotted, riders charge towards it to flush it into the open, and an eagle is released. If the eagle fails to make a kill, another is released.
The skill of hunting with eagles, Svidensky says, lies in harnessing an unpredictable force of nature. “You don’t really control the eagle. You can try and make her hunt an animal – and then it’s a matter of nature. What will the eagle do? Will she make it? How will you get her back afterwards?”
They also use eagles to take deer. (video from Daniela Imre)
Blog Administration, Corrections and Retractions, Golden Eagle, Human Predation, Montreal, Natural History
There have long been rumors that eagles are not only capable of preying on lambs, but may even go so far as to take human infants when given the opportunity. Wildlife experts have consistently pooh-poohed such stories, dismissing them as folklore.
Hat tip to Bird Dog.
Update: It’s a fake.
A Montreal animation school has fessed up that the “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” on YouTube is a fake, created by three students in its three-year animation and digital design degree program.
“Both the eagle and the kid were created in 3D animation and integrated in to the film afterwards,” the school, Centre NAD, said in a statement Wednesday.
Could an eagle snatch a small child and carry him off?
This eagle is doing a decent job on an adult human being.
Falconer Steve Bodio has traveled to Kazakhstan in order to witness Central Asian falconers using Golden Eagles to take deer.
Next time, Steve won’t have to travel so far. The Daily Mail recently reported on hunting with Golden Eagles in Slovakia.
According to Steve Bodio:
Look at it this way: that eagle he’s carrying weighs over 20 lbs.