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Rooks draw Swedish village into Hitchcock Halloween nightmare

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 30 Oct 2009, 12:01

Published: 30 Oct 2009 12:01 GMT+01:00

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The heavens above the small village of Revingeby near Lund in the far south of Sweden have grown dark with the flapping of avian wings. In this case the birds in question are clamours of rooks - perhaps numbering thousands according to the hapless villagers.

As the Halloween weekend approaches the locals can talk of little else but their airborne plague of biblical proportions and the morning cacophony of shrieking birds.

Lars Persson, the chairperson of the local village committee, tells of how he, in the company of his wife, stood on the front steps of their home a couple of weeks ago when the rooks descended in waves.

"I was taken aback at the sight," he told the TT news agency.

Residents now demand that something be done to combat the rook invasion as several villagers have been left terrified by the low-level fly-by birds.

Shooting rooks is perfectly legal in Sweden and so the villagers are free to arm up and fire at will. This would however be a meaningless course of action, according to Lars-Ewert Jönsson, the officer in charge of culling in the county of Lund.

"The first time you can maybe pick off an individual. Then they all flee. The second time, the same result. But the third time the birds start to recognise the hunter's vehicle and fly off without delay," he told local newspaper Skånska Dagbladet.

The most apparent difference between the ongoing ordeal and Hitchcock's 1963 movie "The Birds" is that no resident has met the same fate as Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) in the suspense classic, and sustained a direct attack.

Story continues below…

The climax to Hitchcock's epic depicted a wounded and bandaged Melanie fleeing the besieged house of her beau Mitch to escape the frenzied birds and seek hospital care.

As Halloween approaches the residents of Revingeby will be hoping to resolve their avian irritation with somewhat less dramatic measures.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:43 October 30, 2009 by karex
Could some sort of sonic device work, I wonder?
13:56 October 30, 2009 by IanHanson
Similar flocks of birds are seen in the evening at Kävlinge, just north of Lund - an absolutely amazing sight, but what a noise.
15:19 October 30, 2009 by Nemesis
I assume the residents know how to use a phone book.

They should contact several hunting associations. Arrange for them to circle the roasting area with shotguns, starting shooting at an agreed time. That should at least start a decimation process of the rooks.

Sweden has a lot of very good gun clubs, so getting shooters should not be a problem.

One gun is pointless, 500 to 1000 will be effective.

Also large bird traps are more than capable of catching them.
17:39 October 30, 2009 by spy

I don't think they would be up to the job. Swedish shooters (or hunters as they call themselves) are more used to tackling large near-stationary moose (a prectice which I find only slightly more sporting than shooting a cow).
18:05 October 30, 2009 by Soft Boiled
Residents now demand that something be done to combat the rook invasion as several villagers have been left terrified by the low-level fly-by birds.

Dont live in the countryside then. Ow scary place, full of animals
18:54 October 30, 2009 by spy
Ha ha well said!

We are talking about rooks not pterodactyls.
19:43 October 30, 2009 by Nemesis
@ spy,

Swedish shooters have to do a test every year, proving they can use a gun. Also Swedish shooters hunt rabbits, and other game.

Also the large crow traps that are used in Ireland when they spray blood on fields would be perfect for this.

It sounds to me like the residents are over reacting. My parents home back in Ireland has about 20,000 crows fly over it in a 40 minute period every night.

About 20 large crow traps would take care of it or 500 shotguns.

Failing that, i am sure the military has an anti-aircraft gun, to destroy the entire area with:)
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