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'Very much real': Eagle comes face to face with B.C. drone

A curious bird started to chase a man's drone.

A Langley man was working on a project in Surrey when his drone caught the attention of an animal. 

Devin Olsen, who travels the province working as a full-time videographer, was flying his drone backward over a golf course when he noticed a bird fly into the bottom of his screen. 

“It showed up on the screen and I kept kind of keeping my distance flying backwards, hoping that it wasn't going to come any closer,” says Olsen.

But the bird was very curious and started to chase the flying object.

“No matter what I did, like it would just keep getting closer and flying in,” recalls Olsen. “It seems like it’s inches from the drone.”

He managed to film the unique encounter. The footage gives a glimpse into the flight of a bird that many people would never have the chance to see up close. 

“A few people have definitely mentioned that it looks like AI or looks like CGI,” he says. “It is very much real, I promise.”

Chuckling that he is not talented enough to fake it, the drone pilot is not sure if the bird is a hawk or a juvenile bald eagle. 

"I think now the consensus is that it's a juvenile eagle,” he says. Upon reviewing the footage, WildSafeBC program coordinator Ainslie McLeod said it's likely a juvenile bald eagle.

"They can take up to five years to get the distinctive white plumage on their head and tail," she said.

Meanwhile, during the roughly three-minute flight, the bird kept moving closer, and at one point, used its talons to reach for the drone. 

“I kept it in sport mode, which makes it go a little bit quicker, just trying to keep that distance because I didn't want to hurt the bird at all,” said Olsen. 

After posting an edited version of the flight to Reddit, Olsen has received an outpouring of support and comments.

"I think for a lot of people it's so cool, because I don't think that you could reproduce this and that's why I think it looks like something you've never seen,” he says. "I think a lot of people haven't seen this.”

Olsen adds he's happy the encounter ended with the bird flying away.