Non Birding Bill sent me a link to a silent film that kind of explains where that urban legend comes from, the one where someone comes up to you and asks, "I heard that the (insert your state here) DNR is paying off a family. Apparently, a bald eagle swooped down and took off with their four month old baby. The DNR conducted a search and later found the baby's shirt (or diaper or pants or hat or sweater) in the nest. The DNR is now paying the family millions of dollars to keep quiet so the general public won't go out and randomly shoot bald eagles. Is this true?" No. Number 1: the DNR doesn't have that kind of money. Number 2: No family could be paid enough to keep something like that happening to their baby quiet. Number 3: Bald eagles weigh on average 10 - 12 pounds and can only carry half their weight in flight. How much does a four month old weigh? Too much! And yes, I did see the story about the New Zealand "man" eating eagle.
Laugh, but I do get this question...a lot. Almost as much as I get the question, "Is it true that hummingbirds fly on the backs of Canadian geese during migration?"
No. Number 1: It's Canada geese. Number 2: Ruby-throats can and do cross the Gulf of Mexico on their own two wings.
But, good old NBB found this lovely silent movie demonstrating the legend of an eagle carrying off a baby. Enjoy: