The predatory capacities of the great raptors have long suggested the harm they might do to human beings. The folklore of Europe, for example, is full of stories in which an eagle steals a human baby. Sometimes the child is rescued; other times his bones are found in the abandoned aerie years later.

I find no convincing documentation for any such story. It has been suggested, however, that large raptors like the harpy eagle might have made such use of our not-too-remote ancestors. Even today, there are cases of children attacked (but not carried off) by large raptors.

The eagle-hound of Zeus, red-ravening, fell
With greed, shall tatter piecemeal all thy flesh
To shreds and ragged vestiges of form--
Yea, an unbidden guest, a day-long bane,
That feeds, and feeds--yea, he shall gorge his fill
On blackened fragments, from thy vitals gnawed.
--Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound

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