Eagles Are Not Going To Snatch Your Baby: Viral Video Is Hoax

 @rpalmerscience
on December 19 2012 3:37 PM

Despite any viral videos that you may have seen recently, eagles are not about to snatch your baby.

A video posted on YouTube on Thursday by 'MrNuclearCat' purports to show an eagle swooping down on a toddler and dragging it aloft for a moment or two, then dropping it. But almost immediately, hoax-sniffing Internet denizens smelled a rat, and on Friday a Montreal art school announced that three students had made the video for a 3D animation course.

“Both the eagle and the kid were created in 3D animation and integrated in to the film afterwards,” a representative for Centre NAD wrote.

Experienced birders had already suspected something was fishy about the bird in the video. Laura Erickson, a writer for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology who hosts the longest-running radio program about birds in the U.S. and is the author of numerous bird-watching books, pointed out that many of the elements in the video didn't add up.

Though the video had the bird tagged as a golden eagle, “the sound you heard was a Red-tailed Hawk. The bird you saw was not a Golden Eagle, but so far I haven't heard of a consensus of what bird it actually is,” Erickson wrote in an email.

Golden eagles are known to prey on goats by knocking them off of cliffs and have even been spotted attacking deer, but there's scanty evidence that they would ever prey on a human child.

“If it was indeed shot in Montreal, the bird belonged to a falconer or bird trainer. There is some dispute about whether the 'baby' picked up was a real one. And there is a lot of bewilderment about why the music in the background was from Chariots of Fire.”

The birders' instincts seem to have been validated.

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