It was a bizarre, terrifying sight seen by millions in the past 24 hours: A large bird videotaped in the skies above a park in Montreal, Canada, suddenly swoops down and snatches a baby sitting in the grass, only feet from a parent. The bird - identified as a golden eagle in the YouTube description - drops the child a few seconds later, flying away and leaving shocked bystanders.
The video, which has now garnered over 5 million hits, has spurred both speculation and skepticism. A handful of arguments have been offered for and against the video's authenticity.
On one hand, the video looks generally authentic, and many people noted that if it was a hoax, it was a skilled one. Others noted that eagles and falcons are known to swoop down and grab animals and objects, even ones that are near people. And there are a few (albeit unconfirmed and possibly mythical) claims of large birds carrying off babies.
On the other hand, there are many reasons to doubt. It's curious that the bizarre babynapping didn't make the news. After all, it's not every day that an eagle swoops down and snatches a baby, much less on camera and in full daylight of a public park. Surely the story would merit a mention on at least the local news, yet no journalism stories about it could be found. And how convenient that the cameraman just happened to be videotaping a large bird high in the sky that, moments later, swooped down for a once-in-a-lifetime abduction.