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Explore the bird life around the campus

Tawny owl, white-tailed eagle, Northern lapwing, hawfinch, great crested grebe and long-tailed tit – these are some of the bird species you can spot around Stockholm University at Frescati.

The National City Park harbors Sweden's most dense population of tawny owls. This one photographed at Uggleviken. Photo: Johan Lind

Students and employees at Stockholm University have the privilege of being in the middle of the National City Park – and in the middle of a rich flora and fauna. The National City Park surrounding the university was founded in 1995 and was the world's first national city park. It stretches from Södra Djurgården, Skeppsholmen and Fjäderholmarna in the south to Ulriksdal in the north. In between are areas such as Hagaparken, Brunnsviken, Gärdet and Frescati.

In this area there are several different habitat types such as manor parks, oak groves, wetlands, coniferous forests, and coastal areas. In other words, the opportunities to see a large number of bird species in the area are plentiful.

An inventory made in 2021 shows that 85 species nested here that year and 14 species breed here irregularly. In addition, there are a large number of species that are temporarily found here, for example during spring and autumn migration.


Magpies, goldfinches and hawfinches

On the lawns of Frescati, the geese are the most visible species. Most common are barnacle geese, but there are also the larger Canada geese and sometimes greylag geese. There are also the "ordinary" birds such as magpies, blackbirds, various finches, blue tits, great tits, fieldfares, and the endemic Baltic gull, a unique subspecies for the Baltic region of lesser black-backed gull, and more. If you hear some sharp short sounds, you may also be lucky enough to see goldfinches and hawfinches in the trees. And if you are really lucky, you can see the cute white ball-shaped long-tailed tit clinging to some tree in search of food. There are also birds of prey in the National City Park. Goshawks, sparrowhawks and common buzzards nest here – and it is not unusual to see the white-tailed eagle circling in the sky.


Nest boxes for owl

Sparrowhawk outside the office window at the Wallenberg laboratory, Lilla Frescati. Photo: Johan Lind

The many oaks in the area offer good breeding grounds for species like the stock dove and tawny owl. For about ten years, a number of large nest boxes were set up in the area for tawny owls. This was done by the university in cooperation with the property owner Akademiska Hus to get help from the owls to manage the rats. Whether any nesting has taken place – and whether the owls have managed the rats – is unknown. But tawny owls have been observed in at least one nest box and they have been used by other bird species and squirrels.


Waders in recreated wetland

Wetland at Bergianus Botanical Garden.
Wetland at Bergianus Botanical Garden. Photo: Per Larsson

If you want to take a walk to see waterbirds, Brunnsviken is recommended. Here you can spot great crested grebes and coots nest along the beach. On the water there can also be found mute swans, various ducks, common terns, cormorants and various gulls. In the wetland that has been recreated at the Bergianus Botanical Garden, there are plenty of barnacle geese. Here, waders such as Northern lapwing and in some years even the little ringed plover can nest. If you are lucky, you will spot the well-camouflaged wader chicks, who in May run around on their stylish legs. In early summer, there is also a fantastic array of flowers by the wetland.

If you want to watch forest birds, a visit to the forest south of Frescati in the direction of Laduviken and Lill-Jansskogen with plenty of spruce and pine is recommended. Among the birds you can find here are various tits and songbirds, wrens, goldcrests, nuthatches, treecreepers, and several species of woodpeckers.

Read more on the National City Park in Stockholm.