It is being reported that this is CGI… good CGI… but CGI nonetheless.
Yep, CGI, via The Blaze:
According to one of the hoaxers, students were promised a grade of “100″ if their video managed to generate more than 100 views on the web. Grades should not be a problem for this team. At press time, the overachievers are approaching 20 million views for their entry.
Team member Normand Archimbault explained it all to the Today Show:
We did all the basic steps of creating a 3-D element for a film. We rigged the eagle, the kid, and then we integrated it with the clip.
The full “Today” show segment with further explanation is below: