Eye of the Eagle: Watch Darshan the eagle spot his trainer from more than half a mile away

On March 14, 2015, a white-tailed eagle named Darshan set a new world record for the highest-recorded bird flight.

Darshan flew from the tallest man-made structure in the world — the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, which is 2,722 feet or 0.52 mile high.

But that isn’t the only thing that’s amazing about Darshan.

The eagle’s eyes are so sharp that, from more than half a mile above, Darshan was able to spot his trainer on the ground below.

Thanks to a tiny Sony Action camera attached to Darshan’s back, we have literally a bird’s eye view of what happened.

Watch as Darshan is released from atop the Burj Khalifa. (I recommend you watch on full screen.)

For more than a minute, the eagle hovers in the air scanning the ground below….

Then, at the 1:40 mark in the video below, Darshan spots his trainer — falconer Jacques-Olivier Travers — and swoops down to land on Travers’ gloved hand.

Here’s a longer video:

From NBC News:

The flight was organized by the Freedom Conservation group to raise awareness for endangered birds of prey and encourage conservation; in the past, the group has recorded eagles taking off from landmarks across Europe, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

“We know that people love these types of videos. It’s a great way for us to attract the public’s attention to endangered animals and to the fact that humans need to learn how to share their space with these animals,” Freedom Conservation Director Ronald Menzel told NBC News.

Menzel’s adventures with birds caught the attention of the Crown Prince of Dubai, who invited the French conservationist to Dubai to bring attention to the need to protect wildlife in urban areas. Menzel told NBC News that over the course of four months, they worked with the prince’s technology team and Sony to get the camera and transmitter on Darshan’s back.

The white-tailed eagle was trained by falconer Jacques-Olivier Travers, who has pioneered techniques to reintroduce endangered eagles to the wild, including paragliding, skiing and kayaking with the birds to teach them survival skills. Travers, who runs a park with about 150 birds of prey in Haute Savoie, France, founded the Freedom Conservation group in 2006.

Darshan is a white-tailed eagle.

The white-tailed eagle, aka eagle of the rain or sea grey eagle, is a close cousin of the American bald eagle, found in Eurasia, near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting.

The white-tailed eagle is a very large bird of prey, measuring 26-37 in. in length, with a wingspan of 5.8-8 ft., the largest of any eagle. The average life-span is 21 years; some white-tailed eagles have been found to live over 25 years.

White-tailed eagles pair for life.

Nearly extinct, successful efforts have been made to reintroduce the white-tailed eagle to parts of Europe, including Scotland and Ireland.

H/t GiGi


12 responses to “Eye of the Eagle: Watch Darshan the eagle spot his trainer from more than half a mile away

  1. traildustfotm

    The greatness of the creature speaks of the glory of the creator.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. That was awesome . When Darshan went into that power dive to it’s handler , amazing . Like Doc said , view it in full screen .

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Very cool bird’s eye view.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. That was amazing! I have always been in awe of these great birds. Native Americans also consider these birds great creatures of power – messengers who take prayers into the heavens, hence the high value of using their feathers in headdresses etc.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I LOVE that! I could see the Eagle’s focus narrow as it spotted its trainer. VERY COOL!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Absolutely fabulous! I have little wonder that this creature loves his trainer. What an awesome view. Thank you for bringing this spectacular viewing to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ManCavePatriot

    We seldom take stock of our existence from God’s vantage point. Thank-you.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Whooa Whoooa Whooooa! I tend to get a little carsick unless I’m doing the driving. Same with this big guy, while “riding on his back.” I watched both versions, & in the longer video, he seemed to keep flying in circles > dizzying! 🙂

    The wind way up there is spooky-sounding. I wonder how his ears can handle it? I suppose they are covered with feathers which helps to keep them warm & muffles the noise.

    “The Greek word for eagle is aetos, which means to blow as the wind or to become one with the wind.” Great article here re eagles. Many interesting facts:

    It wasn’t until the 5:20 mark in the longer video that Darshan began his nosedive toward his trainer. I wonder if, for the prior 5 full minutes, he was searching the entire time for the trainer, or if he was merely enjoying the view & the flight for awhile? If only eagles could talk.

    Anyway, VERY COOL! Thanks for the free ride. 🙂

    “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles…” (Isaiah 40:31).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 😀


  10. Totally cool and what an insight from an eagle’s view.

    Liked by 1 person

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