With the world focused on survival, thousands of swallows and swifts migrating from Africa to Europe were killed by unusually high winds over Greece that saw them plummet to the ground and land on balconies in the capital Athens, bird watchers said.
Dead birds were also found on Aegean islands and around a lake close to the seaport of Nauplia in the Peloponnese.
“It’s a major disaster,” Maria Ganoti of the wildlife protection group Anima told Agence France-Presse. “Because of high winds in the north and over the Aegean Sea, thousands of small birds have been found dead or gravely injured,” she said.
The Greek ornithologist association said: “The night of April 5-6 was disastrous for migrating birds due to strong winds, low temperatures and rain in some regions.
“Southerly winds pushed flocks of birds from north Africa into air currents from the north of the Aegean sea and particularly the islands.
“To escape, exhausted birds, mainly swallows and swifts, which catch flying insects for food, headed for the Greek mainland.”
The association urged people to take care in the street, where exhausted birds often land after covering thousands of kilometers as Greece is the flight path for hundreds of thousands of birds which migrate north in spring and south in autumn as their paths.