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Swallow on one-off visit to Sweden killed by hawk

Swallow on one-off visit to Sweden killed by hawk

Published: 23 Nov 2012 15:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Nov 2012 15:20 GMT+01:00

Bird enthusiasts watching the only American Cliff Swallow to ever grace Sweden’s skies were shocked on Tuesday when a hawk swooped in and killed the wayward swallow before their very eyes.

“Someone shouted ‘No! No! No! No!’ and then everything went quiet,” veteran birdwatcher and avid photographer Kalle Löfberg told The Local.

On a grey and windy morning this week, 66-year-old Löfberg gathered with 50 eager birdwatchers and witnessed what turned into a shocking midair hunt.

The crowd had been growing for three days after someone noticed the rare swallow, which according to Löfberg, has never been seen in Sweden before.

However, things took a turn for the worse when the small bird got exhausted flying against the wind.

“I was watching the whole thing through my camera,” explained Löfberg.

“Someone shouted ‘There’s a sparrow hawk’ but I thought it was far away. And then, the sky was empty.”

The 66-year-old then looked through his pictures and noticed he had caught the exact moment of the kill through his own lens.

The hawk took its prey to a nearby beach where Löfberg claimed that the swallow had no chance in surviving.

Löfberg, who has been an avid bird watcher for 40 years, had never seen anything like it.

“I was so surprised. It’s one of the rarest birds you could ever see in Sweden,” he said.

The American Cliff Swallow is migratory, usually flying from its home in North American to South America each year.

The birds very rarely have been known to migrate to western Europe, however, having only been spotted in Europe ten times, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Some have speculated that hurricane Sandy on the east coast of the United States may have caused the bird’s unusual appearance in Sweden.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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Your comments about this article

16:21 November 23, 2012 by Twiceshy
> Bird enthusiasts (...) were shocked

Then they went home and got some chicken for dinner.
16:46 November 23, 2012 by Svensksmith
That hawk had discriminating taste.
17:27 November 23, 2012 by RobinHood
This appalling treatment of an illegal immigrant must somehow be the fault of the Sweden Democrats.
20:48 November 23, 2012 by Brianito
Missing In Action
22:36 November 23, 2012 by Steggles
I find this story hard to Swallow!

How would a rare visiting or lost Swallow remain in one place for three days while a crowd gathers to watch it?

I am sure it was just a common European variety Tornsvala or Alpseglare still on it's southerly migration!
08:19 November 24, 2012 by Gjeebes
"The crowd had been growing for three days after someone noticed the rare swallow, which according to Löfberg, has never been seen in Sweden before."

Really? And this guy knows this, how? It seems to be a favourite past-time for Swedes to make unsubstantiated blanket claims, usually about how great Sweden is .

"However, things took a turn for the worse when the small bird got exhausted flying against the wind." A turn for the worse?

Yet another documented example of Swedes not being able to handle the "real world". Good grief Charlie Brown
11:01 November 24, 2012 by rise
A hawk needs to eat and it found a tasty bite to swallow.
14:43 November 30, 2012 by Zombie
This is so Hilarious

Ahahah
16:52 November 30, 2012 by ann2
No, seriously, they know. There is a whole culture of bird enthusiasts and a few make their reputations as being the first to sight a species yet unseen in an particular area. It's not a Swedish thing, it's a bird-watching thing, and I bet more than half the watchers there were not Swedes, were in fact visiting from other countries in order to see this rare appearance. So this event is very rare, very shocking and awfully hard to understand if you're not a bird watcher, or if you haven't read about bird watchers :-)
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