Birds 1 – Drones 0

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Over the past year, we have seen many drone-cam videos of birds of prey attacking UAVs, sometimes knocking them down. This week, a falcon in Dubai took a drone down as prey, reported The National.

The drone was flying above Jumeirah park when it was taken down by the raptor, whizzed to the ground and crashed. The bird followed it down, and was seen by park-goers guarding its prey.

A man who was concerned about what had happened went to investigate the garden into which it had crashed. The falcon was perched nearby, and after the two exchanged stares, the falcon flew over to perch on the drone.

The man, one Lukas Franciszek, posted the photo he took to social media.

The falcon flew away, and the owner is not yet known, although the bird was tagged.

It is suspected that the falcon may have associated the drone with food. Drones are used to train falcons: they lure birds in the air with dangling bundles of meat and feathers. After a bird tears this bundle off, it is typically rewarded as part of its training.

By Mike Weins

Tokyo Launches Drone Squad

drone squad
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The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department announced a new policing initiative this week to combat illegal drone operation in metropolitan areas.

The police drones will monitor no-fly zones, enforcing Japan’s drone legislation. Upon finding illegal activity, the drone squad will seek for the drone operator and order the drones to be grounded.

If the squad is not able to remove the drone from the air using this method, 10-foot long drone enforcers will be dispatched to collect the offending drones with large nets.

Japan also recently amended its Civil Aeronautics Law to limit the airspace of drones to 500 feet from the ground. Also, now in densely populated areas, all drones over 300 grams are banned.

The police force also has drone terrorism in mind in pursuing the program. The metropolitan police bureau recently told national media that such attacks were a possibility, and that the force hoped to defend Japan against any such scenario.

The potential for a serious attack in Japan was highlighted earlier this year, when an activist flew a drone carrying radioactive sand to the top of the office building of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The act was a protest against nuclear power, the man said, and no one was injured by the symbolic action.

The new drone squad will consist of dozens of trained officers and will begin operations later this month, according to police officials.

By Andy Stern