Eagle Picks up Child YouTube Video - Internet/Facebook Rumour

19 Dec 2012 - Article No: 1649. Filed under: General | Internet/Facebook Rumour

A YouTube video is going viral across the Internet that purports to show a bird swooping down into a park, grabbing a sitting young child and trying to take off. However the bird drops the child after a few feet. The video is claimed to have been taken in a Montreal park.

The bird snatches the child. But is the video real?

After only being uploaded a mere 24 hours ago (from the time of writing this) the video has already amassed well over 2.5 million views making it one of the most rapidly spreading videos YouTube has ever seen.

But is the video real?

The answer is no. The video was created by 3 students at the Centre NAD in Montreal, a media training centre that deals with 3D animation. The video was part of a project by Normand Archambault, Loïc Mireault and Félix Marquis-Poulin. They say this in a recent blog post (link at end of article) -

Both the eagle and the kid were created in 3D animation and integrated in to the film afterwards.

Before the Centre NAD came clean and admitted the video was faked many experts online had already displayed their scepticism.

For example when viewing a close up of the video that has been stabalised there are certain moments that occur during the moment the bird drops the child that do not appear to be genuine, primarily after the bird lets go of the child, the child seems to briefly "float" on the screen, then move upwards before descending to the ground.
A video where this can be seen more clearly can be viewed here.

Also many experts claim that the shadows on the right appear inconsistent, with the shadow of the child disappearing as the bird lets go of the child.

Others claim the use of a doll was used in conjunction with the CGI, and the real child was waiting in the stroller that is clearly seen in the video facing away from the camera. As the cameraman points the camera to the ground the doll is removed and the real child put in its place.

Further speculation about the authenticity of the video arises with the identification of the bird, wherein the video is identified as an Eagle. Bird expert Kenn Kaufman says this on the issue -

A golden eagle tries to snatch a baby in Montreal, and the video goes viral. But its faked. Golden Eagle is a scarce visitor in the Montreal area, but the bird in the video is not a Golden Eagle, nor anything else that occurs in the wild in North America. This was clearly a setup: using a falconers bird, and probably a fake toddler for the distant scene. With all the ignorance about nature thats out there already, the last thing we need is this kind of stupid garbage.

Many online wildlife activist groups are also claiming that the video and the ensuing mainstream media coverage is giving birds of prey a bad reputation and runs the risk of such birds becoming the target of misplaced revenge or reprisal. Such groups assert that it is improbable for such a bird to take off with a child, pointing out that it has never been known to happen. The Black Swamp Bird Observatory stated this via their Facebook page -

...This kind of publicity does so much damage to birds and we hope that if you see the video posted that you will inform people that it is not real...

Others however have stated that they have seen birds of prey pick up small cats and dogs and it is not out of the question that a baby - in the wrong place at the wrong time - could be a feasible target for such an attack.

However either way the video is not real, just a 3D animation video by a media training center in Montreal. If you do circulate the video please make sure that you make a note that is has been faked.

Reference -
Center NAD blog post - Dec 19th

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