Marking a sure sign of spring, the birding organisation BirdLife Finland has reported the first barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) sighting of the year in Helsinki.
The last time the bird was seen this early in Helsinki was over 20 years ago. Normally, the barn swallow does not appear in Finland until mid-April.
The swallow was spotted in the bay of Vanhakaupunki on Tuesday, likely recently returned from its summer climes in southern Africa on a wave of warm air that has extended up through the Baltics.
Most of the swallows will return to Finland in late May. Spring migration has begun three weeks early this spring, with several Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) sightings and over one hundred sightings of the White Wagtail (Motacilla alba). Many birds can already be seen in the gardens of southern Finland, including finches, blackbirds and European robins.
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