Wave of Mysterious Bird Deaths in Finland

Owl remains found in Finland. Photo by Vincenzo Penteriani, YLE.More birds of prey have been found killed than usual in Finland this year. Nests have been destroyed and protected birds found dead across the country. The crimes often remain unresolved, because evidence is hard to find.

There have been cases all over the country: dead golden eagles in Ylitornio, Lapland, Finland’s northernmost province. Elsewhere, goshawks have been shot in Sonkajärvi and eagle owls chicks killed in Häme.


Some of the dead birds were found during patrols. Bird experts fear that more birds of prey are being killed than was previously known.

“If it is revealed that this has happened over a large area and too many different species, then yes, this is something to be concerned about,” said Jari Valkama of the Finnish Museum of Natural History.

The persecution is thought to be partly down to hunters reducing predators for hares and grouse, but the Hunters Union rejects that notion.

“Birds of prey do not significantly threaten game stocks anywhere in Finland,” noted Teemu Simenius of the Hunters Union.

Killing a protected bird is a crime punishable by fines and compensation payable to the state. The problem is not that the penalties are too light, but that police resources are too scarce to investigate the crimes.

Simenius hopes that attitudes towards birds of prey will change.

“And I hope that this publicity will make the risk of getting caught so high that people will not try this nonsense anymore,” he adds.

Yle News

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