Saturday, 18 August 2012

Eagle Owl - The Dark Knight Rises

The largest owl species in the world, the eurasian eagle owl is secretly breeding in some remote areas of northern England. The iconic species are widespread over most of Europe but are not included in the British bird species list so are not classed as native. There is controversy amoung natrualists into weather the animals belongs in our wild areas or not as they will of course have in impact on upland ecosystems as they are apex predators. Escaped folconry birds could have provided our population or did birds travel from across the continient. The truth is nobody knows how this predatory species bagan to breed in the British isles.  

Everything about these birds is admirable: their big orange eyes and round face which you can relate to so well. Their impressive size and power making them the kings of the owl world. Their illusive secretive nature makes them a real life dark knight. I don't understand how you can look at this bird and not appreciate it.
Eagle Owl photographed in the North Pennines

Here are examples of different views of the birds in its Eurasian stronghold range compared to the UK, starting in Helsinki as a pair of Eagle Owls live in the trendy and central forum building where they have their own paparazzi photographing their every move and are gracing the pages of the local newspapers almost every day. Passers-by snap photos of them while they are out on the streets and security guards have had to save them from the adoring fans on a number of occasions. Their urban diet consists of Rabbits, crows and Gulls and the Helsinkians just can't get enough of them. They successfully reared three chicks in 2011 and there is a supposed seven breeding pairs in the area.
Two of the city owls (source:
Two of the city owls (source:

There is also a much more famous Eagle Owl in Finland's recent past, he was named Bubi and made headlines in the summer of 2007 when he invaded the Olympic stadium in the 17th minute of a Euro championship qualifier against Belgium and play was stopped for six minutes as the 30,000 strong crowd chant his finish name as the bird was unfazed flying low over the pitch with grace before perching on the Belgium crossbar. The game had been a lackluster affair and some of the Finnish players quoted after the game that the Owls suprise appearance had helped inspire the team to victory. The Finnish Soccer team was promptly named the Eagle Owls and Bubi's fame was cemented when he was named Helsinki citizen of the year for 2007. Here is a must watch video of the events with current England manager Roy Hodgson in charge of Finland watching on. What would they make of him at Wembley!

Bubi in action (source:

Perched on the Belgium crossbar ANTTI -AIMO KOIVISTO / LEHTIKUVA

Now here is a couple of headlines from one of the UK's leading newspapers the Daily Mail... 'British Village terrified by giant Eagle Owl that swoops on children and small animals' also 'Lock up your pets! Dog owners warned as giant 6 foot Eagle Owl is spotted in Devon'. The media stories show a difference in mentality in the UK compared to across the continent. One of the problems is that some unaware brainwashed readers would actually take the Daily Mail's headlines seriously.

I have been fortunate enough to watch these birds in their natural environment and it should be a privilege to have these birds in Britain. Eagle was once a symbol of resurrection and Owl was related to death, What is the future of Britain's Eagle Owls? Will they resurrect in our wild places or will they come to their death through human interventions such as greed, politics and money.

Ewan Miles


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