Literally unbelievable video of golden eagle snatching baby is literally unbelievable

Via basically everyone, this video is unbelievable. A golden eagle tries – and fails, thank god – to fly away with somebody's baby:

Golden eagles have been filmed hunting reindeer calves and adult deer, so that baby was lucky.


"This video is unbelievable" was clearly my subconscious being more right than I thought, because I actually don't believe this video is true.

A few people have watched it closer than I have, and frame-by-frame there are some things visible which are either very strange artefacts, or signs of a good CGI job.

For instance, when the bird swoops down, its shadow pops in one frame after it does. And for one frame, and one frame only, around three seconds in, its right wing becomes transparent.

Then there is the slightly odd motion of the child after the eagle lets go of it. Not only does it carry on going up - which would just be momentum - but its ascent actually speeds up a bit before falling

Then there's the smell-test of the circumstances. The YouTube uploader joined yesterday, has never posted any other videos, and hasn't linked their account to anything else. If you're making a YouTube account these days, you have to make a special effort not to link that account to something like a G+ profile, and the uploader seems to have gone to that effort.

And finally, the Isle of Mull Eagle Watch team think that that's not a golden eagle at all, but a juvenile eastern imperial eagle, which is not native to North America and unlikely to be hanging around Montreal parks.

None of this is conclusive evidence; but it's enough for me. I've changed the headline of this piece to reflect that. In the meantime I'm trying to find a way to contact MrNuclearCat, to get their side of the story.

Update 2

It's confirmed: the video was a hoax by a Montreal animation school, Centre NAD:


The “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” video, uploaded to YouTube on the evening of December 18, was made by Normand Archambault, Loïc Mireault and Félix Marquis-Poulin, students at Centre NAD, in the production simulation workshop class of the Bachelors degree in 3D Animation and Digital Design.
Falconer Volker Walter (L) with a golden eagle on his arm. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

Getty Images.
Show Hide image

Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.