The video, titled "Golden Eagles Snatches Kid" and posted Tuesday by MrNuclearCat, shows a bird swooping down, snagging the child off the playground, then dropping him a few seconds later. It has received over 2.7 million views in two days.
"Both the eagle and the kid were created in 3D animation and integrated in to the film afterwards," according to a statement from Centre NAD, which was headlined: "Centre Nad Reassures Montrealers: No Danger of Being Snatched by a Royal Eagle."
A statement from Centre NAD said the video was created 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.
"The production simulation workshop class, offered in fifth semester, aims to produce creative projects according to industry production and quality standards while developing team work skills," the statement said. "Hoaxes produced in this class have already garnered attention, amongst others a video of a penguin having escaped the Montreal Biodôme."
Although the video crew much attention, the skeptics were out early.
As one commenter said on the YouTube site: "This is fake and you can tell by listening to the voices in the videos. Nobody talks like that."
Likewise, opennewscast wrote, "I've been working with digital images professionally for 15 years, and I'm convinced this is fake. The swoop down at 0:10 looks just like cheap CGI to me."
The New Statesman's Alex Hern dug deeply into the story (by online standards, at least) and noted that the eagle's right wing, oddly, becomes transparent in one frame.
The New Statesman also noted the observation on Twitter from the Isle of Mull Eagle Watch team that claims the bird is not, in fact, a golden eagle, but a "juv eastern imperial eagle not known to frequent Montreal parks!"
(Copyright © 2012 USA TODAY)