There are several remarkable aspects to a film captured by amateur uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) pilot Ilya Bardysh – for starters, its dizzying flight altitude of 3,200 feet. But the most arresting of all those is the clear video the drone took as a Saker falcon swooped in and attacked the craft right out of the sky.
Video captures falcon’s attack of drone far above Siberia
Bardysh, 32, was flying the vehicle among the clouds over Siberia’s Kamchatka peninsula when the falcon appeared in the distance, then swooped in to attack the drone head on. The camera captures the bird of prey swirling down, then jacking up vertically to reach out and grab the craft in its talons. After initially destabilizing the falling UAV, the falcon circles back and grabs it again, bringing it almost all the way to the ground before dropping it. Then the meat-eating hunter pecks at the drone for a sample, and eventually flies off after the discovery that it offers a particularly unsatisfying plastic-y taste .
The UAV’s sudden beeping probably didn’t improve the falcon’s appetite or mood, eliciting a flurry of protesting squawks before the creature flew away.
The video and story behind it was published Monday by UK paper Daily Mail. It says the footage was shot late last year, but only came to anyone’s attention this week. The paper credits online English-language The Siberian Times for the still captures from the footage, but searches on that site don’t turn up archived information on a drone, falcon, or Bardysh.
In its story, the Daily Mail quotes text from what presumably was an original posting of the video online. In it, Bardysh says “the falcon dragged the aircraft to a swamp, so I had to search for it using GPS coordinates from the DVR record.
“I was descending, the height was about 700 metres,” he continues. “I just thought, ‘Wow, a bird!’ and the next second I was frightened. I turned off the drone.”
What’s confusing about that last detail, however, is presumably killing the drone would have also cut the camera that recorded the video – which clearly wasn’t the case. That move would, however, explain the other detail that will amaze most drone pilots: that the falcon’s razor-sharp talons didn’t end up in tatters from the spinning blades.
“’It was lucky the bird was not wounded by the rotors,” he notes.
And it’s lucky for Bardysh that rules in Russia don’t appear to prohibit drone flights at 2,300 feet.
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