By Fran Weaver, April 2011
From the rooftop bar of Hotel Vaakuna right in the heart of Helsinki, nature-lovers have been getting a bird’s-eye-view of the escapades of three eagle owl fledglings this spring.
The owlets left their nest on the roof of the Forum shopping centre in early April, and have since been strutting round on the roof and testing their wings while looking down over the city centre’s busiest crossroads, unseen by most of the shoppers below.
The tenth-floor bar Loiste has welcomed the extra attention and clientele, serving hot drinks to warm the watchers on the windy rooftop. Well-equipped birdwatchers are happy to let visiting families take a look at the lovable owlets through their binoculars and telescopes.
Until recently, eagle owls were more typically found in Finland’s vast, wild forests, but Helsinki is today home to several pairs of urban eagle owls who raise their young on a diet of rabbits, following the rapid proliferation of Helsinki’s population of escaped pet bunnies.
The youngsters on the Forum rooftop are certainly thriving and growing fast, gradually shedding their fledgling down and acquiring their adult plumage. They should soon be able to soar over the city centre showing off their impressive 1.5-metre wingspans.
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