Widespread drone use has recently presented a new set of problems for both local governments and militaries alike. Consumer drones used by kids and hobbyists can often be a nuisance or even a hazard when flown in big cities, used near airports, or even taken to local parks. While drones are of course primarily a toy or tool used by filmmakers, groups like ISIS have also attempted to weaponize them. Recently, the terrorist organization suggested utilizing drones to drop bombs at sporting events or other large public gatherings.
In an attempt to combat illegal drone usage, the Netherlands has sought the help of some feathery friends to snatch these flying menaces out of the sky.
Check out a highly trained hawk taking out a couple of drones in the video below:
Large birds of prey are no stranger to tricks and training. Often times, hawks and eagles will be taught to fly over crowds or otherwise be trained to go to and from a handler.
In this case, the hawk has been taught to seek out and take down drones mid-flight.
According to the video’s uploader, this bird has been trained by the Netherland police. In the video, a larger consumer-grade drone can be seen flying in an indoor arena. Once released by its trainer, the large hawk immediately flies towards the drone before reaching out its large talons and snatching it out of the air.
The bird seems to have no problem carrying the drone either as it whisks it away. The entire process takes just a matter of seconds, and it seems as though the drone has no time to react.
While the use of hawks to take out drones is certainly a unique idea, it may not be all that far-fetched. Drones, especially those flown over crowds or public spaces, present a tough challenge for police and military groups. Attempting to shoot a drone down for example would likely cause collateral damage. And deploying large-scale vehicles like a helicopter may be unnecessary or entirely impossible in certain situations.
Large birds of prey have strong, tough talons used for picking up fish, small mammals, and other food and objects. In a sense, snatching something with their feet is almost inherent. Furthermore, their safe interactions with humans and learning potential make them great candidates.
Still, the Netherlands police say that the concept of introducing birds to their force is only an idea for now, and more research and trials will need to be done to ensure the safety of the animals and practicality of use.