back to article Eagle-on-EGLE* violence: American icon sends govt-flown drone hurtling into the waters of Lake Michigan

A government drone pilot watched $950 meet a watery end after a bald eagle took umbrage at a DJI Phantom 4 Pro being used to map the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Environmental quality analyst Hunter King was out monitoring erosion with the pricey UAV on 21 July for the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) " …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    American response

    Naturally will be to arm the drones, or just shoot all the eagles in the area

    1. UCAP Silver badge

      Re: American response

      Nuke 'em from orbit, its the only way to be sure

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: American response

        As much as I'm enjoying your enthusiasm, I suspect that might make mapping the shorelines a little difficult.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: American response

          On the contrary - no shorelines to map will make the process quite unnecessary. A win all round and a vicious wild beast that caused hundreds of dollars of damage will have been dealt with.

          1. Mark 85

            Re: American response

            On the contrary - no shorelines to map will make the process quite unnecessary. A win all round and a vicious wild beast that caused hundreds of dollars of damage will have been dealt with.

            That sounds like a government response: "We''ll paty XXX millions to save one thousand dollars and lay waste to the countryside as a side benefit."

    2. Dazed and Confused

      Re: American response

      If we can have sharks with freaking laser beams I don't see why we can't arm the eagles too, that way they can toast them damn drones without having to crash into them.

  2. RobThBay

    Since when is $950 considered pricey for a drone? Especially when the government is involved.

    It sounds like he was operating BLOS (beyond line of sight). Isn't that frowned upon by the US gov't?

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Not when the drone is flown BY the govt.

      1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

        Specifically, EGLE is a department of the State of Michigan gov't, not the US Feds. The feds don't care squat about the U.P. as long as Canada stays on it's side of Lake Superior.

        Heck, if the price was right, I'm sure the US would sell Canada the entire U.P., much of northern Wisconsin, and the Minnesota Arrowhead (and maybe more). Call it the Province of Superior (after the lake). Make the Mackinac Bridge a border crossing since it's majestic enough to earn the role. Heck, make Mackinac Island a special dual-nation territory that enjoys free entry to passport holders of both countries (going back mainland is different) and still enjoys no ordinary motor vehicles.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          FWIW, tha Canadians are very, very happy to stay on their side of the lake and will be extremely happy if those damn Yankees will stay on theirs.

          Closest to a mask icon --------------->

    2. SW12345

      Correct. This usage would fall under the purview of the FAA who forbid beyond LOS operation.

      As this is public sector, what are the odds of anything coming of that?

  3. anononononono


    n our daily course of supplying software for drone mapping, we test them regularly. We've only had one reported bird attack, but you'll notice in certain times of the year, nesting season I guess, in some areas birds will start to circle them, at which point we land.

    More curious though was one very particular make of drone would attract bees, swarms of them, they don't stand a chance and the drones would land completely covered in bee guts, other bees still swarming around the thing. We stopped flying them on days when they seemed to be around.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bees

      Male honey bees are called drones. The bees swarming around your drone probably thought it was trying to escape its duties to the queen.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bees

      You should apply for a grant from the EPA and determine whether its the frequency of props or some chemical used during manufacturing/shipping. If you can develop one that attracts murder hornets, you could make some money.

      Also, what's the model number? Its coming up on christmas and that sounds like a perfect gift for an enemy.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Bees

      Did the drones smell like bananas by any chance?

  4. Paul Herber Silver badge

    ' into four feet (1.2m) of water'

    In years gone by their first thoughts might have been "Get Jacques Cousteau".

    1. GrumpenKraut

      Would it be practical to have some floating device attached to the drone? Seems useful for drones flying above water.

      1. Psmo
        Black Helicopters

        Or at least a floating buoy so that the memorial is put in the right place.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The Super-Stupid Water Bug

        Rumor has it that, during the war in Vietnam, a certain Teledyne-Ryan Recon UAV would regularly fly straight past its designated recovery point and land in the water, regardless of how many times they reprogrammed the right coordinates into the damn thing. It never had a problem hitting any other assigned waypoints and none of the other drones did the same, but somehow this one never got over its urge to go for a swim after every mission.

  5. iron Silver badge

    I thought DJI's commie drones were banned for use by the Government of Trumpton.

    1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Probably, but recently it’s seemed like his problems are with Huawei and Tiktok specifically. Unless DJI has found a way to use a drone to fuck up a Trump

      Rally or take the piss out of him..

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gatwick drones

    These were police drones looking for the initial reported drone, which turned out to be a police drone. The search wasn't documented so more drones were reported. It was a total screw up so it will be a long time before it's formally confirmed.

  7. HammerOn1024


    <Huh Uhm>

    Mess with the eagle, get the claws.

  8. martinusher Silver badge

    Its not unknown.....

    I fly R/C sailplanes. These aircraft are often flown with raptors because we're looking for the same resource -- rising air. We normally get along fine but occasionally the bird will take exception, maybe we get too close to a nest or maybe its just having a bad day, and it will charge us. These attacks don't normally cause damage because its more a "Go Away" message and, anyway, while a raptor can leave some ugly gashes in a wing it really can't do much against something that's 3 meters or more in wingspan. Mostly we get along fine -- mostly the birds show us where the lift is but occasionally we find it for them and we get joined in a thermal, lazily circling with two or three of them.

    Some types of sailplane can be quite expensive. If you want a top of the line competition ship then you're looking at an outlay of $2-3K. That $950 quadcopter's a bit of a bargain.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Its not unknown.....

      Same thing pretty much for the full size version. They can get a bit terrritorial at low altitudes but usually they put in a few mock attacks, then go off to sulk. Definitely a full size plane isn't going to take much damage from a hawk or falcon.

      I've encountered peregrine falcons at 2500 meters AGL.

      Also fun are storks. They pretty much behave like living miniature sailplanes. Prefer to fly "opposite" or equally divided in a thermal, and seem to get annoyed if you don't join a thermal properly like you would any other sailplane. Since the glide speed of a sailplane is usually much better and thus we cover more ground oftentimes it seems like we become the thermal indicator for storks.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very troubling... there was an eagle attack on a person on the shore of Lake Superior yesterday as well. RotE?

    1. Getmo

      America itself is unhappy with Americans.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Not all Americans, just the stupid ones.

        ...and, of course, the fat orange one. There's a GIF of him trying to make friends with an eagle who is having none of his sh*t.

        Excellent judges of character, eagles.

  10. Celeste Reinard


    1: With a name like Hunter King one is almost begging to get ones feathers ruffled by one who is patently so;

    2: The King Hunter just did it for ships & giggles is another explanation - since honestly, we can't know what its motivation was, but it could be. Especially when the pilot is called Hunter King;

    3: It felt like this failed buzzard needed to be taught a lesson. (Succesfully, as is the evidence.)

    4. It is just some stupid stone-age anti-tech with a bad-hair day - and that is why we can't have nice things. (Shoot the lot...)

  11. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    did not like its name being misspelled

    That misspelling thing isn't surprising. Squeezing EGLE out of it is a bit of a stretch because they dropped the first capital letter, a quite important part of the name. I guess DEGLE didn't sound "cool" enough.

  12. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    The Eagles - New Kid in Town

    Old Timer 1 New Kid 0

  13. murrby

    Of course here in Australia the eagles take on bigger (and more expensive) prey.

    1. hoola Silver badge

      Interesting article, what is striking is how the term "drone" has changed.

      To most it implies a contraption with multiple propellers that has all the flying characteristics of a brick. To the military it usually looks like a small aircraft, the pilots just sit at a desk in the dark. To these guys the drone looks to more like an expense radio controlled model aircraft.

  14. JCitizen

    Looks like they will need an escort...

    Like the Army gun ships! LOL!

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