Kungstorn

Giant Bird of Northern Europe. Etymology: Swedish, "King's eagle." Variant name: Svanhildorn ("Svanhild's eagle").

Physical description: Wingspan, 6 feet 6 inches.

Behavior: Can lift prey as large as a reindeer calf.

Distribution: Norway; Sweden. Significant sighting: On June 5, 1932, three-year-old Svanhild Hansen was snatched by an eagle and carried for about 1.2 miles up to the mountain of Hagafjell on the island of Leka, Nord-Trondelag County, Norway. The 42-pound girl was found essentially unharmed after a seven-hour search by 100 people. The incident was said to have been made into a film by Knut Vadseth and Skule Eriksen. Possible explanations:

(1) Probably a kungsorn, or Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), which has a wingspan of 6-7 feet.

(2) The bird that abducted Svanhild Hansen was said by some to be a White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), found along the Norwegian coast. It is 3 feet long and also has a wingspan of 6-8 feet. Sources: Steinar Hunnestad, 0rnerovet: Skildring med virkelighetsmotiv (Bergen, Norway: Lunde, 1960); Karl Shuker, "Big Birds in Scandinavia," Fortean Times, no. 139 (November 2000): 23; Karl Shuker, "Scandinavian 'Big Birds' Update," Fortean Times, no. 141 (January 2001): 23.

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