The White-throated Needletail isn’t seen very often in the UK. In fact, the bird, which is the world’s fastest flying bird, hasn’t been spotted in Britain since 1991. That’s why it was such a treat for birdwatchers when the rare bird showed up today in Northumberland. Unfortunately, the sighting was cut short when the bird flew into a wind turbine.
According to the Telegraph, more than 80 people came out to catch a glimpse of the rare bird. About 40 people were able to spot it before the bird met its tragic death.
Josh Jones of Bird Guides said: “It was seen by birders fly straight into the turbine. 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. It is tragic. 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.”
Western Isles wildlife expert Steve Duffield said that the bird had been hanging around in the area for a few days. The birdwatching community was abuzz with news of the sighting and people started flocking to the area to see it.
Duffield said: “Once the news was spread on the evening, many birders started preparing for the long journey north in the hope of catching up with the bird … A very sad end to a delightful bird that may well have attracted many more birders to Harris over the following days had it not met it’s untimely demise.”
Bird Guides notes that the White-throated Needletail has only been spotted in the UK nine times since 1846. The bird is usually spotted in places like Siberia, Australia, or Japan.