Unbelievable amateur footage appears to show the moment a golden eagle attempted to snatch a small child in a Montreal park.
The short video, posted to YouTube by MrNuclearCat, is claimed to show a golden eagle swooping down and lifting a toddler off the ground in Montreal. It has quickly become a viral hit.
However, there was much scepticism on social media websites such as Twitter as to whether the clip was genuine.
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.
After cursing in English, the French-speaking man filming the incident drops the camera so it is pointing downwards and races over to comfort the bewildered child, who starts crying but does not appear to have been seriously hurt.
Blogger Alex Hern writes for the New Statesman: “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.”
The golden eagle is the largest bird of prey in North America, and can dive at its quarry at speeds of more than 150 miles per hour, according to the US National Geographic Society.