Raptors Take Out Aerial Drone in Austria

Technology versus nature played out in dramatic fashion recently when two Golden Eagles in the Austrian Alps attacked and took down a rotor blade-powered done worth more than $1,200.

Photographer Patrick Pircher had been flying his DJI Phantom 3 Drone over the mountains to take aerial footage of the countryside when a pair of eagles approached the unmanned craft and began to try and intimidate it.  

After a few seconds, one of the raptors grabbed the drone and sent it tumbling through the air, according to the Daily Mail.

Pircher tried to regain control of the tumbling drone, but both birds gaged up and ultimately sent it tumbling to the earth. Once the drone had been brought down, the birds pecked at it. Either they thought they were catching prey or fighting off an intruder.

The DJI Phantom 3 is a quadcopter type drone and measures 23 inches wide, weighing about three pounds. It’s not extremely maneuverable compared to a Golden Eagle, which has a seven-foot wingspan and can weigh up to 14 pounds.

It’s also a raptor, so the contest was a little like a fighter aircraft attacking a blimp. Pircher was able to locate the downed drone and retrieve the footage after tracking it with its onboard GPS.

It’s certainly a brave new world when unmanned aircraft are seen as either threats or prey to raptors like the Golden Eagle. Maybe next we’ll see bears harassing driverless cars in Yellowstone?

For a look at comparable drones click here.

Photo credit: Youtube