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Bald eagle attacks government drone: You were designed to soar

Closeup of a bald eagle in flight against white clouds in a blue sky.
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Last month, a bald eagle took on a government drone in Michigan and won, according to state officials. The bird attacked the quadcopter drone at about 162 feet in the sky, “tearing off a propeller and sending the aircraft to the bottom of Lake Michigan.”

A spokesman with the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy said the attack “could have been a territorial squabble with the electronic foe, or just a hungry eagle.” 

Most of us have seen an eagle soar in the air and have heard how they use air currents to lift them above storms. I had the joy of watching many eagles during an Alaskan cruise many years ago. 

How can such a graceful creature attack a drone in midair and then fly away?  

A miracle of design  

I decided to research the eagle, which is known for flying alone instead of in flocks, as many other birds do (so it often fights alone). What I found helped me understand the Scripture: “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). 

The wings of an eagle are a miracle in design. 

So when God compares waiting on him with mounting up “with wings like eagles,” he had his unique creation in mind.  

A large eagle has around seven thousand feathers, yet, their unique design keeps the bird lightweight but strong. Each feather is held together by more than 350,000 hooks visible under a microscope. The parts with hooks are called hook barbules. The parts they are hooked to are called bow barbules. Every part of the eagle feather is made up of keratin, the same substance found in fingernails for strength.  

A female bald eagle can have a wingspan of almost eight feet, which remarkably weighs less than two pounds. The feathers overlap with air spaces between them, adding to the lightweight design. Pound for pound, an eagle wing is stronger than a wing of an airplane, according to scientists who have studied the birds. 

Eagles use their wings with great skill and can fly faster or slower by changing their wings’ position. They also use wind currents and “thermals” to assist them. They are skilled at getting the best results with the least effort. They know how to climb high without too much work and how to swoop down on prey and carry it away. Their broad wings hold them up longer, help them to glide, and provide extra lift when carrying prey, often weighing more than the eagle itself.

What you were designed for

God created the eagle with great detail and precision, a design not easily visible when we watch its grace. What seems to be the eagle’s effortless flight, even during storms, is actually the bird using God’s designed resources. 

And what appears to be great ease in catching and carrying its prey is actually the way God took great care of ensuring the eagle was strong enough to overcome obstacles. 

Humans are also “fearfully and wonderfully” made (Psalm 139:14). 

We were not designed to overcome difficulties in our own power. 

God designed each of us to rely on him for strength. When we “wait for the Lord,” we can rise with wings like eagles—woven with his power, not with our own abilities.  

As Philippians 4:13 says: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  

His presence provides strength for each day: “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (Psalm 105:4).

God uniquely designed the eagle to face the elements. 

He uniquely designed you to depend on him. 

How will you soar today?

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