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Dec 19 2012

Canada: more dangerous than even Australia?

Also, that eagle…probably an atheist.


The word is out: the eagle video is totally fake.

Damn. My newly hatched cunning plan to satisfy the hunger of American atheists by training eagles to capture Canadian babies is foiled by reality.

122 comments

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  1. 1
    Holms

    Holy shit! Brazen bastard right there.

  2. 2
    Guy

    Awesome footage! But it’ll take more than one hungry eagle to usurp our “most dangerous country” title.

  3. 3
    canuckamuck

    Of course eagles are atheists — do you think they believe in any power higher then themselves?

  4. 4
    muskiet

    I hate that so much stuff is being faked for YouTube hits, I just can’t believe anything I see there any more.
    But I must say that it does look very believable.

  5. 5
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Maybe now people will stop saying “A dingo ate my baby!” in bad Australian accents, and instead say, “Ooh, an eagle took your baby, eh?” in bad Canadian ones.

  6. 6
    Rasmus

    Well, there’s a common folk wisdom to never ever leave small children unsupervised and visible outdoors even for a minute, because of eagles. Maybe there’s a reason for that…

  7. 7
    rowanvt

    I don’t think that’s a golden eagle. Goldens don’t have white edgings on the secondary flight feathers. Also, the shadows are not matching up right on some of the trees.

  8. 8
    SQB

    I don’t think that’s a golden eagle.

    Nah, it’s a bald eagle. You can tell by the way his feathers are all combed over to one side.

  9. 9
    Draken

    “So you want to report a missing child, sir?”
    “Well officer, it’s not really missing, as such”
    “Not missing? Then what?”
    “I mean, I know in which hole in the cliffside it may be, officer.”

  10. 10
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    Video: YouTube – An eagle snatching more kids

  11. 11
    Rasmus

    Also, the shadows are not matching up right on some of the trees.

    Which shadows never do unless the trees are completely straight and the ground is completely level and the lens of the camera is just right, etc. If this is fake it’s basically a composite of real eagle footage (or some brilliantly well made eagle CGI) and real footage from that park and some tricks to make it look like the kid is airborne for a moment.

  12. 12
    Ichthyic

    I don’t know what the cameraman was thinking.

    should have just stayed where he was and kept filming!

  13. 13
    Ichthyic

    More people should use their kids as bait to see if we can get a handle on this eagle behavior.

  14. 14
    rowanvt

    When the camera panned far right, the shadows looked off, but taking more time to stare it could be just the angle of the hillside. Bird’s still not a golden with that patterning though. :P

  15. 15
    Holms

    Maybe the Canadian government needs to get off their arses and mandate training for babies to rush marauding eagles en masse… solved.

  16. 16
    Great American Satan

    Comment 15 wins. Wave of babies!

    BTW, I must know for certain. IS IT REAL OR FAKE?!
    Certainly pretty unbelievable looking, but very well done. I MUST KNOW!

    Educate me, smart guys.

  17. 17
    Ichthyic

    it seems plausible to me. I have seen legit videos of eagles lifting deer.

    oddly though, google does not give me ANY credible reports of eagles snatching babies. There is vague reference to a newspaper article from 1914, but I can’t find the original.

    you’d think it would have happened at least a few times.

    *shrug*

  18. 18
    Ichthyic

    an analysis of Eagle Powerlifting technique:

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildlifenews.view_article&articles_id=343&issue_id=58

    “There used to be stories about eagles carrying off babies and little kids, and none of that has ever been documented,” he said. “They can pick up and carry four or five pounds, maximum, and actually fly off with it. They can lift a little more and hop it along, but they can’t carry it off.”

    These are bald eagles, mind, which are smaller than golden eagles (and whatever that was in the vid).

    also, eagles of course generate more lift the faster they are moving, so can lift heavier objects (like I said, I’ve seen goldens grab deer fauns), but the eagle in this vid got really slowed down. Unlikely it could have carried the kid away.

  19. 19
    Great American Satan

    The lack of documented eagle attacks on babies pretty much nails this as bogus, unless someone turns up otherwise. Pretty amazing looking though. BTW, golden eagles might not be able to fly off with very heavy stuff, but they can damn well kill big prey. Honestly, aside from proximity of watchful adults, I can’t think of any reason babies wouldn’t have been killed by raptors now and again.

    One morning on the bus to work, I saw a hawk carrying something the size of its entire body, in full flight. Looked like hard work, but apparently possible. If I had to guess, it was the mostly hollowed out remains of a roadkill dog, cat, or raccoon. Very floppy. That was in Seattle near the old Rainier brewery.

  20. 20
    Ichthyic

    Goldens don’t have white edgings on the secondary flight feathers.

    If you google on golden eagle pics, it does look like some color variants have a lot of white on them.

  21. 21
    Ichthyic

    it pretty much would have to be a bald eagle or a golden, in Eastern Canada.

  22. 22
    rowanvt

    @21- But just on the tips of the secondary feathers? And a huge splash of white across the middle of the primaries? I could almost buy the primaries, but that tipping of the secondaries I can find on no pictures whatsoever.

  23. 23
    rowanvt

    Full screen and pause it at 37 seconds.

  24. 24
    Thornae

    It’s fake, but plausible.

  25. 25
    maxdwolf

    The lack of documented eagle attacks on babies pretty much nails this as bogus, unless someone turns up otherwise.

    Um, no. Think about how that sounds. “We have to disregard this documentation because we have no previous documentation.” While this could be faked, it being a rare event is not strong evidence for this. It barely counts as evidence at all. A baby dressed up all in brown could well have appeared as a rodent or other tastiness to the raptor. The small height achieved before the eagle realized it was far too heavy is within the bounds of believability.

  26. 26
    brasidas

    I’m not sure it’s real either – while letting the camera drop down so only grass can be seen while running may be a natural reaction, it’s also a good way to avoid having to fake more footage.

    Also, in Australia they have sheep-eating parrots!

  27. 27
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    “Also, in Australia they have sheep-eating parrots!”
    New Zealand goes one better- flightless carnivorous parrots.
    Historically, eagles are more of a danger to baldies than babies. Aeschylus was killed when an eagle dropped a tortoise on his bald head to break the shell.

  28. 28
    Paul Coddington

    New Zealand used to have Haast’s eagle, which may have taken children, given that it was big enough to take moa.

  29. 29
    desertfroglet

    Also, in Australia they have sheep-eating parrots!

    Brasidas, no sheep-eating parrots in Australia. Are you thinking of the New Zealand kea?

    New Zealand goes one better- flightless carnivorous parrots.

    sc_770d etc, I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of sheep-eating kea but are mixing them up with the harmless kakapo.

  30. 30
    Aliasalpha

    Oh that’s nothing, that kid wasn’t even draged off to a riverside cave for bunyips to suck out it’s blood and lay eggs in its tear ducts! That’s like the entry level of threat in australia…

  31. 31
    marko

    Thornae,
    Thanks for that, journalism just isn’t what it used to be, that article is wonderful.

    “The pursuing girl began a vigorous shouting as she ran, which attracted the hunter’s a’tention, who, seeing the eagle quite near him, and a lady rushing down the slope with streaming hair and garments, and wildly shouting, concluded at once that that there was something strange, and perhaps dreadful, in his immediate vicinity.”

  32. 32
    unclefrogy

    nature red in tooth and claw

    uncle frogy

  33. 33
    Matt G

    Well, early hominids ARE known to have been food for birds of prey.

  34. 34
    mikmik

    Probably an atheist! It took me a minute to get the ‘eat babies’ allusion.

    Obviously, it’s the kid that’s an atheist, for American Bald Eagles are very devout, and have resorted to kidnapping for indoctrination.

    Bald eagles live on Vancouver Island as well. However, there are no french people there.

  35. 35
    Lofty

    I was carried off by a big scary bird when I was little.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Now I’m bigger than her mother can’t carry me anymore.

  36. 36
    dgrasett

    heavy duty doubt, here. Baby looks fairly solid. Eagle (Bald probably) takes up to cats and small dogs. Weight of baby probably too heavy for bald eagle to keep in the air. Doubt 2 – no matter how heavily dressed the baby was, the baby would have been considerably savaged. Eagle’s talons are not nice. And savaged babies sell newspapers. QED.

  37. 37
    raymoscow

    Golden eagles do hunt fairly large mammals. There’s nothing that makes humans off-limits for them.

  38. 38
    shouldbeworking

    Sheep eating parrots? Wow, that’s one nasty sheep those guys have.

  39. 39
    raymoscow

    Comment via Chris Clarke on FB: Kenn Kaufmann sez: “A golden eagle tries to snatch a baby in Montreal,” and the video goes viral. But it’s faked. Golden Eagle is a scarce visitor in the Montreal area, but the bird in the video is not a Golden Eagle, nor anything else that occurs in the wild in North America. This was clearly a setup: using a falconer’s bird, and probably a fake toddler for the distant scene. With all the ignorance about nature that’s out there already, the last thing we need is this kind of stupid garbage.”

  40. 40
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    Apologies Desertroglet: many years ago when I visited a kakapo breeding station I got the impression they were carnivorous, not omnivorous.
    Mind you, one made a pretty determined attempt to eat me, so if they could catch sheep they would probably eat them.

  41. 41
    campbellmcaulay

    I wonder whether that was an African Golden Eagle or a European Golden Eagle?

  42. 42
    daffindo

    The eagle is definately a fake CGI. Its movement isn’t natural, especially when he’s gliding and turning at the same time. The lighting is a little off, with the eagle having much more contrast than the surrounding.
    The clear giveaway is in the slow-motion at the end though. The eagle’s body, especially with the kid’s weight added, should fall back down a bit inbetween wing flaps, it doesn’t.

    Pretty nice how they managed to make the whole video seem natural.

  43. 43
    Nathair

    This was clearly a setup: using a falconer’s bird

    The eagle is definately a fake CGI

    Skeptics…

  44. 44
    ChasCPeterson

    African Golden Eagle or a European Golden Eagle

    All one big species w/ the N. American denizens.
    No white feather-tips.
    [Kenn Kaufmann, btw, is one of the few authorities worth appealing to. When it comes to IDing birds, I mean.]

  45. 45
    jamessweet

    I am not saying this is real, but there are problems with all of the “proofs” it is fake so far.

    The analysis that pruports to show the shadow suddenly appearing at 0:10, I think what is going on there is that sign you see there is an indentation — the shadow is on steep but very short slope going down to the sign so it is not visible to the camera until it comes up over that lip.

    The allegedly “off” tree shadows, gimme a break. The shadows look like the kind of random shit you get from reality, not the kind of perfect shadows you get from CGI. In any case, it would have been stupid to make the trees CGI — why not just, um, film a park?

    Chris Clarke’s explanation (that it’s a falconer’s bird and a fake kid) is most plausible. Note that the stroller is facing a way from the camera in the early shot, so it’s possible there is a real toddler in the stroller waiting to be substituted for the fake toddler that the bird snatches. The two doubts I have here is that, looking at the shadow of the stroller it doesn’t look like there is a toddler in there (though it’s hard to tell), and the toddler seems to move realistically when dropped by the bird (although again it is very hard to tell since there are only a few frames to go on).

  46. 46
    swampfoot

    It’s a fake. The kid doesn’t move right after being picked up, he jerks around in frame.

    Here’s a video explaining why:

    youtu.be/2TkEjcMMLqE

  47. 47
    pentatomid

    I think I’m siding with Kenn Kaufman on this one. The guy knows his birds.

  48. 48
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    One of the rules of the internet: when any photo or video is posted there are sure to be all number of internet and visual masters claiming “Shopped” or “fake”.

  49. 49
    Larry

    I wonder whether that was an African Golden Eagle or a European Golden Eagle?

    Its not a question of where it grips it. Its a simple question of weight ratios.

  50. 50
    apucalypso

    Another rule of the internet: People will post all kinds of faked or shopped pictures or videos…the more spectacular the better..

  51. 51
    Maureen Lycaon

    Darren Naish of Tetrapod Zoology did several posts on this through the years, titled “When Eagles Go Bad”. The latest edition I could find is here.

    He cites a paper by Berger & Clarke (1996) that large raptors will sometimes gut a heavy animal before carrying it off, to cut down on the weight.

    So while this video might have been faked, it may not be utterly impossible for an eagle to kill and carry off a small child.

  52. 52
    swampfoot

    I don’t think anyone is claiming it’s impossible, just that there’s good evidence that this particular video is a CGI mashup.

  53. 53
    Nathair

    It’s a fake. The kid doesn’t move right after being picked up, he jerks around in frame.

    Here’s a video explaining why:

    That is the kind of scientific authenticity test that gave us the fake moon landing conspiracy community.

  54. 54
    ChasCPeterson

    This jogged what’s left of my memory back to this post, from back in the day. Also faked imo (and as noted at the time under my first blogospheric nym).

  55. 55
    marko

    All one big species w/ the N. American denizens.
    No white feather-tips.

    I think you may have missed a subtle reference – something to do with an ability to carry coconuts.

  56. 56
    noastronomer

    Of all the reasons I think it’s fake I would have to go with dgrasett’s doubt #2 as the best. I’m not an expert, but all the evidence I’ve ever seen indicates that a raptor doesn’t just grab it’s prey*. It leads with the talons aiming to drive them into the body. That way the prey is seriously injured, if not dead, befiore the bird tries to fly off.

    If this were a real attack that child would have had serious injuries.

    Mike.

    * Though osprey will grab fish out of the water, but this video features neither.

  57. 57
    ChasCPeterson

    you may have missed a subtle reference

    ah. I see.
    that’s embarrassing.

  58. 58
    Michael

    There are two things I immediately thought of after seeing the video:
    1. Richard Dawkins has often said in lectures about the fossil skull of a prehistoric boy who was killed by an eagle (Damage to eye sockets is identical to the damage today’s eagles would do as they peck out the eyes).
    2. Another article discussed a theory on the origin of the dragon legend. Rather than (just being) from dinosaur skeletons, was that the dragon is an amalgamation of the animal threats our ancestors faced (lion body, eagles wings, and crocodile’s head).

  59. 59
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Maybe it was an Eagle Scout? Scouting out possibilities for the horde of eagles that will follow? Well, I for one, am happy to serve our new Golden Eagle Overlords!

    When Wife and kids and I were in Yellowstone some years ago, I got a (really mediocre) photo of a Bald Eagle in one tree and, on the next tree back, a Golden Eagle. The Golden Eagle is freakin’ huge compared to the Bald.

    =

    I tend to side with those calling it stages/faked. Though I do have personal experience with being attacked by a Peregrine Falcon. Luckily, my Smoky Bear hat protected me. Though it did freak out the people I was leading on a tour. Especially when I picked up the hat, put the wounded hat back on my head, and continued the tour as if nothing had happened. And I really wish one of the visitors had been filming my tour as I can guarantee it would have gone viral.

  60. 60
    chigau (違う)

    Anyone who thinks CGI is easy hasn’t tried.
    It would be much easier to train an eagle and a toddler.

  61. 61
    Rasmus

    One of the things that makes me think it’s either real or a brilliant work of computer imagery is that the kid appears to nod slightly forward just before the bird gets a hold. If it’s a doll and a trained eagle it’s also incredibly well made. It either real or a professional job. I guess it could be a viral marketing campaign for something.

    As for all of the “the movement is wrong” explanations: take mechanics 101. You’ll probably find that your intuition about how stuff is suppose to move is abysmally bad in any situation that you’re not closely familiar with.

  62. 62
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    It would be much easier to train an eagle and a toddler.

    CGI might still be easier than training a toddler.

  63. 63
    robb

    @campbellmcaulay, Larry etc.

    a four kilo bird could not carry a 10 kilo baby. babies don’t even have husks.

  64. 64
    Q.E.D

    I am no ornithologist but read up on Golden eagles on the Pffft of all knowledge and apparently:

    Diving speed when hitting prey up to 240 kph (150 mph)

    “The talons of this species exert an estimated 440 pounds per square inch (3 MPa) of pressure, though the largest individuals may reach a pressure of 750 psi (5.2 MPa)”

    No infant is walking away from being hit at flying speed with these

  65. 65
    Planetary Paul

    Atheist? Or maybe the Bishop of Bath and Wells reincarnated, although he would probably have had more bulk to him…..

  66. 66
    Kevin

    In Vancouver, there are bald eagles that nest in Stanley Park. It’s common for them to take small dogs. So common that small dog owners pick them up and carry them in the more-dangerous parts (open areas where the birds can swoop down from a soaring/hunting position).

    Balds are pretty freaking big.

    And I’ve seen footage of a golden killing a deer. So, it might not be wanting to carry the kid off, just to sink its talons in deep enough in the back of the neck to kill.

    Not saying anything about whether the film is real or not. Just saying that I find the scenario entirely plausible.

    Eagles don’t know that we’re on the top of the food chain.

    Just sayin’.

  67. 67
    deepsix

    The biggest question mark for me is the reaction of the assumed parent. If a giant bird just grabbed my toddler and attempted to fly off with him, I wouldn’t just run over and rub his belly. The natural reaction is to pick up the child, comfort him, and check for injuries.

  68. 68
    Barefoot Bree

    Deepsix, you’ve almost got it.

    The biggest giveaway for me is: why is she not screaming?

    I’m sorry, but the mother who can watch her baby get snatched by an eagle and NOT scream is likely in on the joke.

  69. 69
    sqlrob

    Anyone who thinks CGI is easy hasn’t tried.
    It would be much easier to train an eagle and a toddler.

    Is an exam supposed to be easy?

    Last year’s was apparently an escaped penguin

  70. 70
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    All one big species w/ the N. American denizens.

    The question is, could either carry a coconut?

  71. 71
    dorght

    Maybe there where two eagles and they had it on a line and the second eagle was CGI’d out.

  72. 72
    sqlrob

    Some analysis of the physics is available at Wired

  73. 73
    campbellmcaulay

    Barefootbree and Deepsix – clearly the wee kiddie wasn’t hurt too badly -I expect t’was but a scratch…

  74. 74
    chip

    My favorite comment so far about this was over at Gawker:

    “This all could have been averted if the baby had its own eagle.”

  75. 75
    dorght

    I would have to agree that so far the eagle snatch denialists’ evidence haven’t won me over. The lack of reverence for error analysis in the Wired article really bothered me and made it unconvincing.
    The skeptic in me does ask where are the couple of inch deep talon holes.

  76. 76
    mary

    A hawk tried to pick up my grandaughter’s little pppy once. The puppy weighed under 3 pounds at that point, so no bigger than other critters the hawk would take. Fortrunately, my son-in-law saw the hawk swooping down and managed to scare it off. It woul not have been happy for him to have to go inside and tell her that her new puppy was gone. That would have been horrible.
    I have never heard of an eagle trying to pick up a child. That child looks rather large to be viewed as prey.

  77. 77
    Argle Bargle

    dgrasett #36

    And savaged babies sell newspapers.

    Too true. Just yesterday I had a bloody and bruised toddler try to sell me a Wall Street Journal

  78. 78
    usingreason

    I’m sitting here at work snorting with laughter at the several comments referencing Monty Python, sparrows, coconuts and laden vs unladen flight. The reason it is especially funny is because under my shirt is a t-shirt that references said unladen swallow and a formula for calculating the load it could carry; the question is, African or European.

  79. 79
    slowdjinn

    #76 Mary – Golden eagles have been filmed hunting goat kids and reindeer calves in the wild, both of which are bigger than this toddler. They don’t carry them far, but they certainly kill and eat them.

    #64 QED – That eagle wasn’t diving, and its impact speed was a lot less than 150mph. I’d at least expect the kid’s jacket to be torn though.

    #40 scetc… Kakapos are herbivores: http://www.nzes.org.nz/nzje/free_issues/NZJEcol7_71.pdf

  80. 80
    tariqata

    It looks like Australia’s title as the most dangerous country still stands.

    Though I know for a fact that Canadian bumblebees will attempt to fly while clutching jellybeans, so I was at least willing to keep an open mind regarding golden eagles and toddlers.

  81. 81
    AlanMac

    Looks like a South American Harpy eagle to me.

  82. 82
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    ” Richard Dawkins has often said in lectures about the fossil skull of a prehistoric boy who was killed by an eagle (Damage to eye sockets is identical to the damage today’s eagles would do as they peck out the eyes).”
    Eaten by an eagle, surely, Michael. Eagles do sometimes eat carrion as well as killing their prey.

  83. 83
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    Seems it was a end-of-year projet from CGI students of the Centre national d’animation et de design, based in Montréal.

  84. 84
    Amphiox

    I recall reading about reports of large birds of prey attacking and even carrying for short distances children as old as 5 or 6. But I do not think any of these reports have ever been independently verified.

    I wonder if there were ever any instances where a Haast’s Eagle went after a human being on New Zealand back before the Haast’s Eagle became extinct around the 1500s. The Haast is probably big enough to kill even an adult.

  85. 85
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    “Too true. Just yesterday I had a bloody and bruised toddler try to sell me a Wall Street Journal”
    But when were they bloody and bruised, Rodney Nelson? Before or after they tried to sell you the W.S.J.?

  86. 86
    tccc

    Just to be clear, the people that created the fake have owned up to it:

    http://blogue.centrenad.com/2012/12/19/centre-nad-reassures-montrealers-no-danger-of-being-snatched-by-a-royal-eagle/?lang=en

  87. 87
    Greg Laden

    The video is fake, but generally not for many of the reasons cited:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2012/12/19/the-golden-eagle-video-is-fake-but-not-for-the-reasons-given/

  88. 88
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Okay, Greg, but what about the old argument about the flying abilities of a laden, unladen, and gregladen swallow?

  89. 89
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    “Kakapos are herbivores”
    Well, Slowdjinn, either the one that tried to chew through my ankle was misinformed or I’m indistinguishable from a shrub, herb or tree- not a very flattering verdict.

  90. 90
    Rasmus

    Nice work. Looks like someone deserves an A.

    Lots of people were quick to point out ‘flaws’, but I’m still not convinced that any of those are valid, assuming we buy the premise that eagles can (try to) snatch kids. I’d love to see a “making of” video.

  91. 91
    Ichthyic

    Well, Slowdjinn, either the one that tried to chew through my ankle was misinformed or I’m indistinguishable from a shrub, herb or tree- not a very flattering verdict.

    knowing kakapos, that wouldn’t surprise me. Hell, they still think they can fly.

    Keas, OTOH… hell, we’re lucky they haven’t started forming nation states with militaries yet!

  92. 92
    Ichthyic

    sc_770d etc, I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of sheep-eating kea but are mixing them up with the harmless kakapo.


    HARMLESS??

    :)

  93. 93
    ChasCPeterson

    rowanvt was right back @#7.
    It’s not a North American eagle (and it sure as hell is no osprey, Dr. Laden).
    First and best clue to fakery.

  94. 94
    richardelguru

    From the source of the video. They say it’s a CGA royal eagle:
    http://blogue.centrenad.com/2012/12/19/centre-nad-reassures-montrealers-no-danger-of-being-snatched-by-a-royal-eagle/?lang=en

  95. 95
    Ichthyic

    The Haast is probably big enough to kill even an adult.

    meh… no.

    really.

    unless it was a hobbit.

  96. 96
    Greg Laden

    ChasCPeterson, you seem to imply I suggested it was an osprey. It certainly isn’t. It does resemble two species of eagle found in North America, but even so, it is difficult to identify eagles to species (given the problem of immatures) given this short of a look.

    The term “Royal Eagle” is used for the Golden Eagle.

  97. 97
    timgueguen

    Seems to me the use of the Chariots of Fire theme at the end should be a big tell this wasn’t real.

  98. 98
    ramaus

    Maybe the kid would be safer in a school.

  99. 99
    Kristjan Wager

    Since we have started on the age-old debate of the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, and since I think no one else has linked it so far, I would like to point out that the question has been answered

  100. 100
    Bjarni

    Hmm, pretty sure Australia has it covered. I’ve heard of the Powerful owl taking small wallabies, cats, dogs and children.

    Not to mention what a wedge-tailed eagle will do to a sheep…

  101. 101
    Amphiox

    meh… no.

    really.

    unless it was a hobbit.

    My amateur’s reading suggests it could get to 30kg in weight and 300kg moas were part of its regular prey. It would seem that a 70kg human adult would not be that much of a stretch with a surprise attack. (Of course it isn’t lifting/carrying anything in this case….)

  102. 102
    Ichthyic

    My amateur’s reading suggests it could get to 30kg in weight and 300kg moas were part of its regular prey

    it didn’t carry them off. It could simply attack them on the spot.

    (Of course it isn’t lifting/carrying anything in this case…

    exactly.

  103. 103
    Ichthyic

    …although we current kiwis are sure that the Haasts are the reason that hobbits went into hiding, and only come out for big media events.

  104. 104
    Ichthyic

    300kg moas were part of its regular prey

    I also have serious doubts it could actually kill a big moa.

    much more likely that it was feeding on carrion.

  105. 105
    slowdjinn

    #100

    I’ve heard of the Powerful owl taking small wallabies, cats, dogs and children.

    [citation needed]

  106. 106
    slowdjinn

    I also have serious doubts it could actually kill a big moa.

    I don’t know – those great long necks with their high-pressure blood-vessels look awfully vulnerable to me.

  107. 107
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    Nice work. Looks like someone deserves an A.

    One of the authors just gave an interview on TV.

    They had to get 100 000 views to get A+.

    They had 2 000 000 this morning, so A+ achieved.

  108. 108
    Charlie Foxtrot

    Soooo… Australia, where 3 years olds keep nests of the world’s second deadliest snake in their bedroom wardrobe, gets to keep the ‘most dangerous’ title?

    Oh – goodie…

  109. 109
    Ichthyic

    I don’t know – those great long necks with their high-pressure blood-vessels look awfully vulnerable to me.

    unfortunately, we will never know for sure.

    :(

  110. 110
    slowdjinn

    Indeed.
    8-(

  111. 111
    Bjarni

    *slowdjinn: Yeah, I’ve only ‘heard’ that, much like people might have ‘heard’ of golden eagles taking kids :)

    Though if they take rock wallabies and koalas as the all-knowing wiki says, I’m sure they *could*, and surely that’s what counts?

  112. 112
    chrisdevries

    In a small coincidence, here in suburban Winnipeg I just saw a massive owl in my front yard. It was dark out so I couldn’t see it in great detail, but its wingspan, when it flew away, was well over a metre, and I didn’t see horns (ruling out the Great Horned Owl), so it was probably a Snowy Owl (this tracks with my experience: I have seen only one other owl in person and not at a zoo, and it was also a Snowy Owl). I doubt this owl was hunting toddlers though; there are thousands of Cottontail Rabbits around including one that has been snacking on our front-yard bushes pretty much every day for the past couple weeks. I’d love to see the little bugger get some “death from above” – that’ll learn him for eating my plants.

    Actually nah, I think I’d miss the wittle bunny. Well, we’ve got lots of toddlers too I suppose, and I am fairly confident a Snowy Owl could carry one off. Let’s hope then, that it’s an atheist owl.

  113. 113
    chrisdevries

    Scratch that: upon doing a bit of research, I have decided it was most likely a Great Grey Owl. I didn’t get a good look at its colouring, but thinking back, it was probably too dark to be a Snowy. Great Grey Owls are apparently more common in Manitoba (and are our provincial bird); they are also more likely to be out at night than Snowy Owls (although both hunt during the day and night). Also, its wingspan was 1.5 metres, at the top end for the Snowy, but close to the average for the Grey.

  114. 114
    A Hermit

    It’s a Manitoba Mosquito in disguise.

  115. 115
    marko

    @slowdjinn

    [citation needed]

    You couldn’t have read the comment properly.

    I’ve heard of…

    Surely a rumour is a perfectly valid reference?

  116. 116
    John Morales

    [meta]

    marko, I’ve heard of sparrows taking off with full-grown men!

    (Surely a rumour is a perfectly valid reference?)

  117. 117
    Antares42

    About the article update:

    My newly hatched cunning plan … is foiled by reality.

    See, PZ, if you were a proper fundamentalist, “reality” wouldn’t faze you in the least. :-)

  118. 118
    mikmik

    Inspired by Antares42

    Damn. My newly hatched cunning plan to satisfy the hunger of American atheists by training eagles to capture Canadian babies is foiled by reality.

    I thought we decided that, given the average airspeed of velocity, that an eagle could, theoretically, carry a small infant off. Eagles CAN(I imagine) be trained, sir, and especially five three sir, could do it all at once.
    If they were trained, like.

  119. 119
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    One of the authors just gave an interview on TV.

    They had to get 100 000 views to get A+.

    They had 2 000 000 this morning, so A+ achieved.

    So, lesson learned:
    Approve of and let students make a project that will upset people in the area and reinforce stupid beliefs about wildlife for years to come, get a reward…

  120. 120
    ck

    A Hermit wrote:

    It’s a Manitoba Mosquito in disguise.

    Don’t be silly. If it were a Manitoba mosquito, it wouldn’t have left the kid behind, and would’ve come back for the rest of the family after it had finished.

  121. 121
    brasidas

    Desertfroglet

    Darnit! I don’t know how I got that wrong – I really did know that the kea was a New Zealand bird (that is indeed the parrot that I was talking about). Must have just disengaged my brain while typing :(

  122. 122
    ChasCPeterson

    fuck, I wish I had remembered this before:

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