A golden eagle is used to combat drones during a military training exercise at Mont de Marsan French Air Force base. The French air force has been training eagles to combat drones after a series of unmanned drone sightings at nuclear power stations and over famous landmarks. Four of the birds have been raised by the air force since hatching in captivity last spring. Since the summer, they have learned to associate drones with prey by being fed meat attached to the devices. Eagles are particularly suited to the task. In the wild, the large and powerful raptors are able to lift animals as large as small lambs.
Their talons are naturally protected from being injured by whirring propellers by the same tough, scaly skin that protects them in the wild from biting prey. In September, the Dutch national police force announced it had become the first law-enforcement agency in the world to deploy anti-drone eagles — North American bald eagles, in that case. British police have said they also are considering training the birds of prey to combat drones in the UK.