Viral video of eagle grabbing baby is fake; but project earns creators a ‘perfect score’

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By now you’ve probably seen the viral video of an eagle snatching up a baby in Canada. The eagle soars across the sky then suddenly swoops into a park across an unsuspecting family and snatches up a small baby. The video has more than five million hits on YouTube, but surprise, surprise, it’s a fake.

The video is a project by some students at the National Animation and Design Centre in Montreal. It took them 400 hours to put together that video.

“At first I thought it was pretty unbelievable, but then at second glance I realized that isn’t real,” said Zack Citro.

Citro is a motion graphics specialist at Denver’s Legwork Studio. He pointed out certain aspects of the video that prove it’s just animation.

“You can kind of see there’s some pixelation on the bird itself,” he said. “The shadow of the eagle looks very thin, even though the sun is coming at this angle. Instead of the child just dropping straight down, he kind of continues to go forward and then hits the ground.”

But the first thing that gave it away to Citro had nothing to do with graphics.

“The reaction from the people around him; they seemed like they were pretty casual about their kid getting swept up,” he said.

So this expert thinks it’s a fake. Just to be sure, we went to the resident bird pro at the Denver Zoo.

“The bird just looked a little off, a little different than what I would have expected for a golden eagle,” said John Azua, curator of birds at the zoo.

He said a golden eagle wouldn’t even be in Montreal right now, it would have migrated south. So once and for all, could a golden eagle pick up the baby in that video?

“No, it couldn’t. It’s just way too heavy,” said Azua.

So a group of students fooled the world. At least from one pro, they got a passing grade.

“If I was the professor I would have given them an A, I thought it looked great,” said Citro.

The school took credit for the video Wednesday, a day after it hit the Internet. The students are graded by how many views their video gets. Anything over 100,000 views earns a perfect score.