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Drone-catching eagle photo goes viral. Here’s the story

Over the last few weeks or so, we came across this photo of a drone-catching eagle many, many times on social media. What is the background story here? Where did this photo come from? Snopes found out. Jump in to learn more.

Drone-catching eagle

Apparently, it all started with a post on Facebook and the photo of an eagle catching a drone went viral from there. It received thousands of likes and comments and got shared over half a million times. The photo was first posted by Alex Ricchebuono on February 27th, 2019 and is titled: “The Picture of the Century… Nature defeats Technology.”

Many people wondered whether this was a real photo or if it was photoshopped. Snopes, a website that fights against misinformation, looked into the photo and found out that it is indeed a real photo.

The photo that shows a drone-catching eagle, was taken a few years ago, in March of 2016, by Koen van Weel in the Netherlands. The bird of prey was a trained eagle from the company “Guard from Above” that used the animals during a training session with the Dutch police to intercept drones. the police, however, found the eagles to be somewhat unreliable and working with real animals required too much time and effort. The police also admitted that catching drones mid-air might not be entirely safe for the eagles. The tests were subsequently halted in 2017.

The image of the drone-cathing eagle is available via Getty Images. It is shown with the caption “An eagle of the Guard from Above company, grasps a drone during a police exercise in Katwijk, on March 7, 2016. The bird of prey can get drones from the air by catching them with his legs.”


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Avatar for Haye Kesteloo Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo