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.
“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.