Well, this is morbid. According to the Telegraph, approximately 40 birdwatchers were on hand in the Isles of Harris yesterday to watch a White-throated Needletail in action after two bird-watchers from Northumberland, England reported spotting the incredibly rare swift earlier this week. As many as 80 bird enthusiasts and ornithologists had traveled to the Scottish island this week for the chance to view the bird that hasn’t been seen since in the United Kingdom 1991, and many more people may have been on their way.
Unfortunately, they can all cancel their trips now and go home, because as the birdwatchers looked on in horror, the White-throated Needletail in question flew right into the blades of a wind turbine.
Josh Jones, of Bird Guides, a specialist website for ornithologists, said he had spoken to witnesses, who had seen the bird fly straight into one the turbine’s blades.
He said: “It is ironic that after waiting so long for this bird to turn up in the UK it was killed by a wind turbine and not a natural predator.
“More than 80 people had already arrived on the island and others were coming from all over the country. But it just flew into the turbine. It was killed instantly. The corpse will be sent to a museum but obviously this is just terrible.” (Via the Telegraph)
This is just the eighth time in 170 years that the White-throated Needletail has been spotted in the UK, so this is obviously pretty devastating news for the ornithology community and bird enthusiasts everywhere.
But at 69.3 mph, the White-throated Needletail is the fastest-flying bird in the world, and wind turbine blades can spin as fast as 200 mph, depending on the type, so I can’t even imagine what that poor bird’s corpse actually looks like or how they plan to present it to the people at the museum. I’m just going to assume that it looks like this:
(Original banner via)