A YouTube video receiving a lot of notice, circulation, and criticism is that of a golden eagle preying on a child in Canada. The video takes place at a Montreal park. The sky overhead is nicely blue and partly cloudy. The air, from our point of view, appears to be crisp. Behind the camera is a man embracing the day and admiring a lone golden eagle soaring in the sky. Majestic. Serene. The first ten seconds are comparable to a low budget National Geographic’s clip.
Nature’s power and perfection captured on film. Exactly two seconds later, however, watchers are gripped with shock as the eagle goes from lazily circling the sky to diving down and sweeping an unsuspecting child off the grass. Did we mention National Geographic? Surprise and horror probably seized most viewers as they watched the eagle ascend still clutching the child. It seems as if it would have succeeded in flying off with the kid had the father not realized what was happening just in time to give chase and frighten the bird into dropping the child. The clip ends with a crying, though unharmed, child and then a recap of what just occurred.
Merely hours after the video was uploaded to YouTube bearing the title “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” it received over a million views. While the numbers are impressive, they were also detrimental to the video’s credibility. The price of so many eyes is, of course, the many critics that they bring.
The video was viewed enough times that video experts were able to pinpoint the inauthenticity of the film as occurring the moment right before the eagle takes flight with the child and it’s shadow disappears. Not to mention the slow motion way the child falls from its grip and the unconvincing music that accompanies the video recap. Other natives also pointed out that the weather shown in the video was not an accurate mirror of Montreal’s weather for that time. The idea that it could have been a late post was refuted by the claim that no one would be able to wait to post footage as amazing as that, if it actually real.
And finally, to settle all disputes, the bird itself is examined. According to wildlife expert Kenn Kaufman golden eagles are a rare sight in Montreal and the bird in the video isn’t even a golden eagle, it’s a type of falcon. His conclusion is that “This was clearly a setup: using a falconer’s bird, and probably a fake toddler for the distant scene”. Elementary, my dear Kaufman.
Skeptics received confirmation and believers disappointment when the video was posted on Canada’s National Animation and Design Centre’s (CAD) website stating that the video was, indeed, the creation of three of its students.