In Battle with Government Drone, Bald Eagle Comes Away VictoriousI am not what one might call a “bird person.” I don’t hate birds, but they’re not really my thing. Maybe it’s the eyes, or the way their legs are almost always so much longer than you’d expect them to be.

But even I think bald eagles are hardcore. The razor sharp talons! The permanent scowl on their faces! The beak that can rip apart prey! The –

In Battle with Government Drone, Bald Eagle Comes Away Victorious



Okay. Well, maybe not THIS guy.


But still – they’re cool little killers. And I’m an even bigger fan now that I know they hate The Man as much as everyone else does.

A representative from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (or EGLE, because irony isn’t dead) was using a drone to map erosion along Lake Michigan so that communities can deal with rising water levels appropriately. I guess even eagles think drones are stupid, because the bird took the bot out, sending it to a watery grave at the bottom of a lake.

Details of the air battle

In a surprising move, EGLE issued a press release about the air battle, providing specific details of the drone’s final moments before hitting the water of Lake Michigan. Those details are incredibly dull, but the press release did contain this little gem: “The attack could have been a territorial squabble with the electronic foe, or just a hungry eagle. Or maybe it did not like its name being misspelled.”

EGLE is taking the whole incident in stride, going as far as asking the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to issue a citation to the eagle for the incident.

Can you send a bald eagle to prison?

Let’s pretend you can, because I’m having too much fun.

The law in Maryland prohibits any person from willfully or maliciously destroying or damaging the real or personal property of another person. Personal or real property includes a home, vehicle, boat, or any other type of item that has value. The penalties for malicious destruction of property in Maryland are:

  • Damage totaling $1,000 or less: Misdemeanor; up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500
  • Damage totaling more than $1,000: Misdemeanor; up to 3 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500

The willful destruction of federal property is a more serious crime. According to 18 U.S.C. § 1361:

  • If the damage exceeds $100, the defendant is subject to a fine of up to $250,000, ten years imprisonment, or both.
  • If the damage does not exceed $100, the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $100,000, one-year imprisonment, or both.


Thinking about launching a drone strike of your own? You probably shouldn’t. At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, we fight for those who face criminal charges related to federal destruction of property or malicious destruction of property in Maryland. Call our criminal defense attorneys in Annapolis or Ellicott City at 410-271-1892 or complete a contact form today to schedule a consultation.

And remember: Ca-caw ca-caw – ca-caw ca-caw ca-caw.