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Surge in birds of prey on Finnish coast

Finland’s sea eagle population has increased over the past decades. Just in the Gulf of Bothnia, there are now dozens of nesting pairs. In addition to sea eagles, the Nordic Wildlife Care centre in Vaasa has treated other rarely observed birds of prey.

Merikotkan pää lähikuvassa.
Image: Mirva Korpela / Yle

Last year there were around 80 nesting pairs in the coastal region around Vaasa, after a surge in numbers following the low point of the 1970s.

"In 1975 there was not a single sea eagle in the area, and after that the situation quietly improved,” remembered Juhani Koivusaari, the chair of the World Wildlife Fund’s Nordic eagle group.

The main reason for the nationwide surge in sea eagle numbers is a reduction in pollution.

”In particular, DDT and DDE were a problem in the 70s,” said Koivusaari. ”High emissions affected sea eagles’ reproduction back then, and it was observed in the thickness of the birds’ eggs, among other indicators.”

Wildlife care centre sees population boom too

The Nordic Wildlife Care centre in the Raippaluoto archipelago has treated a lot of birds of prey this winter. Eagle owls and falcons have been particularly frequent patients at the centre, which quickly treats animals and returns them to the wild to avoid them becoming too used to people.

”We have not treated this many before,” noted Markku Harju, an administrator at the centre.

The Nordic Wildlife Care centre started up seven years ago, taking in injured animals reported by members of the public. They can be contacted via their website.

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