UPDATE: A Montreal animation school has fessed up that the "Golden Eagle Snatches Kid" on YouTube is a fake, created by three students in its three-year animation and digital design degree program.
"Both the eagle and the kid were created in 3D animation and integrated in to the film afterwards," the school, Centre NAD, said in a statement Wednesday.
As seen below, cyber sleuths and imaging experts had quickly poked holes in the viral video, spotting obvious flaws in shadows and composition.
Students at the Centre NAD have cooked up digital hoaxes in the past as part of their coursework, including this video of a penguin escaping from the Montreal Biodôme.
Eagles are majestic animals but would they ever go after a baby? One Montreal child got a real close call when a bird thought to be a golden eagle swooped down and almost carried the baby away.
That is, of course, if you believe the images of a video posted to YouTube Dec. 18.
The video, which quickly went viral, shows the bird of prey swooping down and almost getting the child. The person shooting the footage can be heard swearing and running towards the child and guardian moments after the attack.
In slow motion, the video appears to show the eagle was able to lift the child off the ground several feet before dropping it and flying away.
Many YouTube commenters have been skeptical of this "Golden Eagle Snatches Kid" video. As opennewscast wrote, "I've been working with digital images professionally for 15 years, and I'm convinced this is fake. The swoop down at 0:10 looks just like cheap CGI to me."
Others, including folks in our comments section, have pored over the footage with CSI-like precision, examining shadows and frame-by-frame sequences for evidence of a hoax.
Among their findings:
First clue: Eagle's Shadow
The shadow of the eagle momentarily disappears at the 10th second and reappear at the 11th second, as pointed out by a user on imgur.
Second clue: The Child Flies Alone?
According to one sharp-eyed observer, who isolated a few seconds of the video with zoom, the child appears to hang detached from the talons of the eagle.
Third clue: The Wing Disappears
Others have isolated the movie frame-by-frame and noticed a missing wing on one segment, suggesting the use of a photo editing tool like the "finger" on Photoshop.
Golden eagles can grow to a metre in length and have a wingspan of more than two metres. It usually feeds on small mammals such as rabbits or smaller birds. There have been reported cases of golden eagles killing or attacking the young of larger animals such as deer or mountain goats.
The eagle-baby thing happened here in Montreal?!?!? I'm gonna find that eagle.
Eagle tries to snatch a kid in Montreal Park. Your move, Ikea Monkey. http://t.co/brBWD60A
In America, parents would sue... somehow. “@AzizAlAlami: Video: Golden Eagle Snatches Kid in a Park in Montreal http://t.co/IIy5fK5X”
well obviously we have an eagle in montreal - he's flyin in yo parks and he's snatchin yo childrens up
I am not convinced that the viral video of the eagle picking up a baby in montreal is completely genuine... may be a viral ad? Idk
I'm now working on a screenplay about a baby who is raised by an eagle after being abducted from a park in Montreal. Nobody steal my idea.
I lived in Montreal for 25 yrs and never seen an Eagle, let alone a baby snatching one. That's unfair.
Baby snatched by eagle > IKEA monkey, just like Montreal > Toronto
@StephenAtHome I hope this isn't Stephen Colbeagle the Eagle's cousin snatching kids in Montreal http://t.co/vQwEggy6
If you enjoyed Marty The Horse and The Ikea Monkey, why not give The Montreal Eagle a go? http://t.co/5bIvMunt CC: @rhysalbrecht #ohcanada