Wedge-tailed eagle takes out drone on WA farm

By AG Staff 24 May 2017
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A farmer has captured the moment his drone was attacked by a wedge-tailed eagle.

A WEDGE-TAILED EAGLE has badly damaged a man’s drone after grabbing the device with its talons and ripping it out of the sky.

Leigh Nairn, a farmer from Binnu, Western Australia, told the ABC today: “It was probably all but one or two seconds. The next thing I saw was my drone tumbling to the Earth.”

He added, “I saw him come in on the left, I hit go and took a snap and then that was it. That was the last photo and the only photo of the eagle.”

Leigh said he was using the drone to correctly position his airseeder. “We had a little bit of trouble with setting up the GPS in the airseeder so I put it up to see where we are at with overlap and coverage.”

“It just came in from above, so it must have been circling,” he said.

The farmer suspected the eagle may have mistaken the drone for another bird encroaching on its territory.

twitter eagle drone

(Source: Twitter/@nairnzy)

Last year another wedge-tailed eagle attack went viral when a boy was swooped at Alice Springs Desert Park in the Northern Territory, latching on to his face and head with its talons. After the incident, Australian Geographic spoke with WA-based wedge-tailed eagle expert Simon Cherriman, who said, “Young eagles are very inquisitive, and the bird may well have been investigating a noise made by the boy’s jacket.”

Recently, there have been a number of military operations focussing on training eagles to snatch drones out of the sky. The intent is to use the art of falconry to protect government areas from unmanned flight.

Because an entire propeller was knocked off, Leigh queried whether any damage had been done to the eagle, however he’s glad the bird didn’t take off with the camera altogether.