A curious owl who thought watching traffic was for the birds decided to take matters into its own hands, er, talons by blocking a camera monitoring Finland's Tampere Coastal Tunnel.
Who says there's nothing exciting on Finnish tunnel vision? Not officials at the Liikenneviraston (Finnish Transport Agency), that's for sure! In fact, one of their recently uploaded videos has gone viral on YouTube with – at press time – 75 likes and 1 dislike... the latter probably posted by a pigeon.
Here's the backstory. Traffic cameras typically rate just above test patterns for entertainment value but they do serve a vital purpose: travelers can view road conditions before setting out. One snowy night, a camera mounted over one entrance/exit of the Tampere Coastal Tunnel seemed to be experiencing a malfunction of the dark, furry or feathery kind.
As staff at the Finnish Transport Agency began to remotely turn the camera, something wholly unexpected came into view: the orange-eyed face of an annoyed adult European Eagle Owl! These large “horned” owls are commonly found in southern Finland where the city of Tampere is located.
Traffic cameras usually have hoods to protect their lenses from rain, snow and ice buildup. The owl probably noticed the small sheltered space on the camera platform and decided to drop in for a breather. Or, as the Liikenneviraston's social media director put it, “The Finnish Transport Agency's Traffic Management Operators were surprised when an owl was posing for their traffic camera.” Maybe the owl thought it was a Roadrunner.