So I realized that I’ve actually blogged a fair amount about various “birds” in Helsinki – for example the ostrich sculpture in Hakaniemi and the Eagle Owls nesting on the Forum mall… but I’ve recently spotted a few more around the city.

One of the owls guarding the Finnish National Theater.

One of the owls guarding the Finnish National Theater.

Hoping off a bus at the central railway station (the Rautatieasema), I realized that the Finnish National Theater is covered in owls! I don’t know how it took me almost two years to spot them… The building was completed in 1902 and is apparently (if you believe Wikipedia) in the national romantic style – this is the same style as the Finnish National Museum (the exterior of which hides all sorts of animals) and fit well with the work of Akseli Gallen-Kallela, who is probably still the most influential Finn in this style.

Another of the National Theater's owls - this time taking camouflage in some foliage

Another of the National Theater’s owls – this time taking camouflage in some foliage

Moving from the National Theater to the National Palace, I spotted two rather unusual birds there – I thought they were beautifully designed light fittings, but on closer inspection they turned out to be covering security cameras. I guess many people feel that important government buildings need surveillance these days, and at least this is making something attractive out of the otherwise ugly security cameras.

Camera birds, opposite the government palace (Aleksanterinkatu)

Camera birds, opposite the government palace (Aleksanterinkatu)

And finally, if you go to the corner of Eteläesplanadi and Eteläranta you can be guaranteed to spot a Raven there everyday of the year. It is perched on top of an advertising board for the Helsingin Kauppatori Apteeki (“Helsinki market square pharmacy” – although originally and still informally known as the Raven pharmacy), and has been the pharmacy’s emblem since the 1940’s. In 2001 the original wooden bird was replaced with a larch replica – the sculptor (Jennifer Rung, from nearby Porvo) apparently remembered the original bird from the days as a student as she would meet dates underneath the raven!

The Esplanadi Raven, perched atop the local pharmacy's signboard

The Esplanadi Raven, perched atop the local pharmacy’s signboard