America loves drones; America loves knocking (or shooting) drones out of the sky; America loves bald eagles. In other words, America loves freedom. And yet it was not an American who saw the obvious solution.
It was, instead, two enlightened Dutchmen and their new company, Guard From Above. These two heroes — Ben de Keijzer and Sjoerd Hoogendoorn — are training eagles to hunt and capture drones. Hoogendoorn’s purported personal motto is: “What if it actually is possible?”
The Dutch National Police is already on board, calling the program “research.” The duo is calling it “a low-tech solution for a high-tech problem,” and, they say, this solution is “safe, quick, and accurate.” What they do not mention is that it is literally incredible to see:
Hoogendoorn and de Keijzer say that they’ve been working with birds of prey for “more than 25 years.” They have a “team of specialists with a passion for these powerful animals” and are working to ensure the birds’ safety. (Rotary wings, I hear, are not altogether kind to flesh.)
It’s not clear how much training is actually required. The company claims that they take advantage of the birds’ “natural hunting instincts,” which is reasonable: birds of prey are born to hunt fast-moving flying things. And birds of prey have been hunting drones unassisted for quite some time. No less, de Keijzer and Hoogendorn along with the Dutch National Police are indubitably having a blast with eagles and drones — how about their response to the ever-recurring “So what do you do?” cocktail party inquiry — so let them do their thing. We’ll keep watching.