Although all my life I’ve lived in a small city, I’ve been lucky enough that it is a particularly pretty city. It’s beautiful. I’ve never hated it. And, our pride an joy was the national park nearby. To be honest, I think the park is bigger than the entire city. To call it just a park even seems unfair. It is a huge field with certain areas that have small trees, hiking trails, water streams, and it finished on some hills that also represent the end of our city. All the kids born around here feel a special link with the said park. We basically grew up there.
Now, in this day and age, things have changed a little. It’s noticeable in their games and the toys they take to the park. For example, there’s the fact that a growing number of adults has been making their way to the park more often than usual. This is due to the popularization of drones.
At first, there were only a few of us, interested in taking pictures and recording the great beauty of the park. That took us a while. By then, small groups of people had already organized some events, amateur races and what not. And in a matter of weeks, it seemed like even kids were bringing their drones to the national park.
I wasn’t exactly complaining, not at all. But then things changed. One event put everything upside down. I woke up one morning to find out that local news was reporting that a hawk had attacked a teenager’s drone.
It was a big deal. Partially because in such a small town we all felt that kid’s pain. Drone’s aren’t exactly cheap, so the kid and their parents were probably suffering the loss, plus the emotional value and the real sadness of unfairly losing something that’s yours. And how would you blame the hawk? It’s just an animal. It won’t pay you back the drone, and it won’t apologize. In fact, it would only attack again.
The accidents continued to happen over the course of a month. Around a week later, when we were already forgetting about the kid’s drone, more focused on the latest local news about anything from new prices in the local markets or someone getting pregnant, the hawk attacked again. This time it was one of the adults. A man, hanging out with his brother at the park was flying his drone as usual on a sunny Sunday morning when it happened.
He had been using goggles to enjoy the first person, or FPV, or the drone. This allowed him to have the perspective of being inside the drone, flying it like a pilot. Still, he was unable to do anything about the hawk that violently attacked from the above. The beak merciless attacking the thing, the claws grabbing the drone and shaking it in the air until pieces started to fall and in the end the entire drone made its tragic way to the ground.
At this point, we were getting somewhat worried, obviously. Still, there wasn’t much we would be able to do. That was until the hawk targeted the wrong drones. The vicious animal woke up cranky one day, probably – in the mood to destroy one or two of those weird flying things that were invading his territory. And, as we know, when Mother Nature wants to send a message, there’s no way to stop her.
It was a turbulent day.
We weren’t there for a race, exactly, but a handful of the city’s drone experts were hanging out at the park. We were accompanied by our neighbors, of course. All kinds of couples, young and old, were taking strolls around. A few families were having nice picnics around the field, taking their dogs out for a walk. A yoga class was taking place, and more groups of athletes were jogging, riding bikes and things alike. Meanwhile, a few drones were moving above their heads. Even if we hadn’t agreed to it, we were looking around for the hawk. It was difficult. Because the animal probably lived somewhere up the hills. We wanted to look there, but we didn’t want to get near them.
Then the first attack took place. We were able to capture in a video the hawk approaching, but then all drones freaked out and attempted their escape. I went straight to the ground, as fast and safely as possible. While the drones scattered, one of them wasn’t lucky enough. One of my friend’s drone received the full-blown attack of the hawk. Just like the last time, the hawk used beak and claws to destroy the poor thing. But, purposely or not, the hawk didn’t let go of the drone. Instead, it started to fly around wildly seemingly struggling.
However, ambition was our downfall. I was mesmerized by it all. It was something we would likely never see again. So I sent my drone up and flying again, to record the scene, to capture the action. In the end, I ended up capturing how the hawk, tangled with the wires of the drone crashed with my own drone. It was kind of tragic.
Luckily, there was a happy ending to this story. The hawk, weakened by its struggle and the weight of the drone, was forced to land in our field. We quickly called the respective authorities, and the hawk received immediate medical treatment. Our drones, sadly couldn’t be helped. But, happy and healthy the hawk came back to its natural habit. Maybe the animal respected out gesture for giving him medical care. Or maybe it just wanted to be as far away from us and our little flying robots as possible. Regardless, we never saw the hawk again around our drones. Only a friendly presence in the distance.