One of the world’s fastest birds has died after flying into a wind turbine as scores of people watched.
Bird spotters travelled to the island to catch a glimpse of the bird and many posted pictures on Twitter, but they then saw it die when it flew into a community-owned wind turbine on Wednesday.
The Rare Bird Alert, an on-line service that notifies users of sightings, had passed on reports of the white-throated needletail on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the service said users had told them the bird died on Wednesday.
On Thursday morning, the service tweeted: “The white-throated needletail on Harris flew into a wind turbine and has died, pathetic way for such an amazing bird to die.”
The needletail is a migrating bird and is black with white patches around its throat and undertail. It is small but has a large wingspan and is said to be able to fly up to 70mph.
A spokeswoman for the RSPB Scotland said they did not know the exact details of the case but migrating birds can be blown off course when travelling and the needletail may have lost its bearings and ended up in Harris.
She added: “Whilst the collision of this unusual visitor with a small domestic wind turbine is very unfortunate, incidents of this sort are really very rare.
“Careful choice of location and design of wind farms and turbines prevents, as much as possible, such occurrences happening on a large scale.
“Wind energy makes a vital contribution towards mitigating the impacts of climate change, which is the biggest threat to our native birds and wildlife.”