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.
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.