A YouTube video, Golden Eagle Snatches Kid, has been proved to be a fake.
The film appeared on a number of websites apparently showing an eagle swooping down and picking up a toddler in a Montreal park.
However, extensive analysis of the video has shown it is not real. The bird has no shadow at some points and appears to be poor-quality CGI.
The Ohio-based Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) called the film "stupid garbage".
"There is a video making the rounds on YouTube and social media that seemingly shows a golden eagle swooping down to try and snatch a toddler. We want you to know that the video is a fake.
"This kind of publicity does so much damage to birds and we hope that if you see the video posted that you will inform people that it is not real."
Kenn Kaufman, author, naturalist and BSBO member, said: "The 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."
The video, by YouTube user MrNuclearCat, has been viewed more than 1,200,000 times and has generated a number of uploaded films showing why it is not real.