Bird abduction: Golden eagle grabs child video (HOAX)

Real or fake?

Video: Real or fake? Golden eagle ‘snatches toddler in Canada’ – Telegraph.

At the beginning, the clip shows the massive eagle – with a roughly six-foot (two-metre) wing span, circling a public park – said to be the city’s Mount Royal.

Suddenly the eagle then swoops down and appears to lift an unsuspecting toddler off the ground by its coat and carry it a few feet before dropping it on the grass.

There are many doubts about this but it’s a pretty good video. We do know that birds have attacked people and made off with chidren but it is odd that the eagle would do this in daylight with lots of people around and he just happened to be filming it. There may be anomalies in the video but that could also be artifacts from the filming. The main doubt is that an animal can hoist such a load for any length of time. And, some say it isn’t a golden eagle at all. But, the time is short since the bird drops the child. A bald eagle’s lifting power is only 4 lbs.

UPDATE: It is a hoax by film students:

The “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” video, uploaded to YouTube on the evening of December 18, was made by Normand Archambault, Looc Mireault, Antoine Seigle and Filix Marquis-Poulin, students at Centre NAD, in the production simulation workshop class of the Bachelors degree in 3D Animation and Digital Design.

Do eagles steal dogs? The jury is still out but even if they do try to grab our kids and pets, they don’t do it regularly and they hardly ever succeed.

The Taung child abduction
The Martin Lowe thunderbird story.

Golden eagle

Golden eagle

  20 comments for “Bird abduction: Golden eagle grabs child video (HOAX)

  1. December 19, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Many of those “reasons its fake” arguments seem to ignore how digital videography works. I think it very likely that the video is real. Can’t be sure, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that Occam is on the side of “real” with this one.

  2. One Eyed Jack
    December 19, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    Appears faked. That or these are the the most casual parents on the planet. Their reactions are far too calm for someone that had a child attacked by a predator.

  3. December 19, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    I have not been impressed with the reasons why it looks CGI. It may be but that has not been demonstrated to me either.

  4. Chew
    December 19, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Yeah, I don’t buy some of those debunking points. If I had filmed that and I didn’t have a YouTube account the first thing I would do when I got home would be to open one and upload the video. Not everybody thinks to contact their local news with an interesting story. Shadows don’t always appear when an uneven landscape is filmed from a low angle.

    But the bird expert saying the bird is not found in North America and the video of the stabilizing footage does show it to be a hoax.

  5. Horsehair Braider
    December 19, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    I have a hard time believing that a real child, in a real eagle attack, would not need to be taken immediately to the hospital. Instead the parents seem really calm, they are not screaming and picking up the child etc. Eagles have powerful grips; driving their claws into the intended prey at high speed is pretty much like stabbing it as many times as the number of claws entering the prey animal. Is there a report in that area of a child being attacked and then taken to a doctor? If so, that would make it a lot more believable.

  6. December 19, 2012 at 11:44 AM
  7. December 19, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Not many people have considered this to be an actual event, but staged with a trained bird (and bird handlers looking like regular people) for fun or PR move?

  8. J
    December 19, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    The only weird thing I can see about it is that the shadow of the tree seen on the right (@11 seconds) seems to be lit from another direction entirely apart from the trees in the rest of the shot. And I’m pretty sure we don’t have two suns, so tha’s all I can really tell from a frame by frame inspection, aside from the ‘eagle’s’ shadow not seeming to line up with the rest of the objects in space. Hopefully I’m not completely wrong about all this, but I haven’t seen better explanations yet.

  9. J
    December 19, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Further, if indeed it’s fake, then the eagle and the kid would likely be GCI because the stroller is facing directly away from the cameraman. So, after the ‘attack’, when the cameraman runs towards the child, the accomplice has plenty of time to put the real child on the ground to conclude the shot.
    Anyway, that’s how I make sense of it, but if anyone else has a better idea, then I’m certainly interested to read it.

  10. December 19, 2012 at 3:08 PM
  11. December 19, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    It was very well done. The reason why I hesitated to believe all the “it’s fake!” pronouncements was because I don’t know what to look for in a CGI video as compared to video artifacts that may occur. It did not seem convincing to say oh a shadow is missing. And, it’s NOT impossible that a large bird could carry off larger than expected prey. But, it is implausible. The fact that this is a hoax reminds me that it pays to be skeptical of everything until more info comes it to make a judgment. AND it goes to show that video is not absolute proof of an extraordinary claim.

    Here is a good link to the explanation.

  12. December 19, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    @Horsehair That’s right. Part of the myth of their lifting capacity is that the critters are so strong. I believe the pressure exerted by an eagle’s talons are enough to crack concrete, IIRC. So, amazing animals of immense strength, but limited to varmints.

    Premies, however….

  13. December 19, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    I was very sceptical to start with (I know a thing or 3 about aerodynamic lift). The problem is that is has now been seen by millions of armed and hysterical Americans who will start blasting away at every raptor they see flying overhead. The * who posted this without identifying it as a simulation may have undone a great amount of the effort made by naturalists over the decades debunking these millennia old superstitions.

  14. oldebabe
    December 19, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Unfortunately, you are so right.

  15. Laurie Eugene
    December 19, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    I was stunned to see this video today as I searched for information on golden eagles. IA few hours earlier today I was shocked today to see a VERY large bird perched on the top rack of my husband’s Suburu when I returned home from the grocery store. I live in city area very close to Boston and I’d never seen ANYTHING like that before! It was somewhere in the range of 18-24 inches tall and had various shades of brown feathers. It stood there with such a stately bearing that I at first thought it was an owl (I’m really a city girl!). I kept my car at a little distance, frantically calling my husband upstairs to look at it and we both took pics with our phone! When it finally turned to look in my direction I saw it was not an owl and my husband thought it was an eagle, though I hadn’t realized that they were that large. I eventually parked in my space beside it, it ruffled its feathers and then flew away. Wingspan must have been 5 feet or more. I was afraid to get out of the car, but fascinated. I eventually looked it up online and think it must have been a golden eagle. AS FOR THE VIDEO, while I do believe this bird is large enough to attempt picking up a small child, it is clear that those responsible for posting it haven’t yet had children of their own. It was in especially bad taste in the wake of the recent massacre of children in Connecticut. There must be a better way to flex creative muscles.

  16. December 20, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    Oooh, please send pictures to

  17. One Eyed Jack
    December 20, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Stereotype much?


  18. December 20, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Baseless conclusions. Most people would never shoot a bird like that. I have edited out the pejorative. This comment was flagged as inappropriate. The revelation that this was a hoax came very quickly and fear of raptors is not rampant in the population.

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