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BirdLife Suomi ry
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09 4135 3300
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Finland for birdwatchers
Why come birdwatching in Finland?
As the easternmost country in Europe, Finland has many species of birds that are not easy to get to see elsewhere, e.g. Blyth´s Reed Warbler, the Red-flanked Bluetail, the Arctic Warbler, the Pine Grosbeak, the Yellow-breasted Bunting or the Little Bunting.

The fact that Finland is located in the coniferous forest zone means that there are good chances of seeing many of the northern forest species. Of the game birds, the Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Hazel Hen, Willow Grouse and Ptarmigan are frequently to be seen, and of the woodpeckers one finds the Grey-headed, Three-toed Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker and Black varieties. The most interesting species of all, however, are owls, of which there can be as many as 10 species nesting in Finland in a good year, ranging from the tiny Pygmy Owl to the huge white Snowy Owl. The pine forests and mountain birch zone of Northern Finland have numerous species with a markedly northern distribution, such as the Parrot Crossbill, Lapland Bunting, Siberian Jay and Siberian Tit.

Many birds of field habitats, e.g. the Ortolan Bunting, have become rarer in other parts of Europe but are still relatively common in Finland, while the largest of our terns, the Caspian Tern, is an example of the impressive range of seabirds. The waders that nest on our bogs are also of interest, as many of them are seen in other parts of Europe only in the course of migration or in their winter plumage. These include the Broad-billed Sandpiper, the Red-necked Phalarope, the Jack Snipe, the Wood Sandpiper, Temminck´s Stint and the Ruff.

The sight of a Crane or a Whooper swan, the Finnish national bird, building its nest is something one can never forget, similarly the diurnal birds of prey such as the Golden Eagle, that magnificent master of the wildernesses the White-tailed Eagle and the Rough-legged Buzzard of Forest Lapland. Finland´s popularity with ornithologists is also greatly enhanced by the incomparable sights provided in late May and again in September-October by the mass migration ofshore and water birds over the country on their way to and from the arctic. The best times for seeing this are the mid of May in Southern Finland and the end of May in the Oulu area, while the summer migrants and eastern rarities reach Lapland some time the middle of June. July and August are usually somewhat quieter nesting months. There are often interesting rare eastern species such as Richard´s Pipit or Yellow-browed Warbler to be seen in September or October. Autumn is also the time for seeing eastern migrants such as the Waxwing, three species of crossbill, the Pine Grosbeak and the nutcracker on their invasion.

Welcome to a birdwatching tour of Finland.

Unspoiled nature and the peace of the countryside
When you arrive in Finland on a birdwatching tour you will be coming to a country with an unspoiled natural environment, to enjoy the wind soughing in the forests, the light sparkling on the surfaces of the lakes and the freshness of the clean air. Finland has 69 % of its area covered by forests and 10 % by water (a total of 187 888 lakes). The majority of the forests are owned by ordinary private citizens, and the Right of Common Access allows everyone to benefit from nature by walking, skiing, hiking, canoeing, rowing, gathering mushrooms or berries or watching the birds in the countryside wherever they please provided they do not cause any damage to the environment or any inconvenience to the landowners. Separate permits are required for hunting and fishing.

You will also find peace and quiet in the Finnish countryside. As the counrty is very sparsely populated (only 17 inhabitants per square kilometre on average), it is easy to find a peaceful spot where you can hear nothing but the sounds of nature itself without any human disturbance. You can study the birds of the area entirely on your own if you so wish - by hiring a cottage in the depths of the countryside and sitting out on its porch.

It is in the countryside that you will meet up with the historical roots of everything that is Finnish. The whole panorama of the peasant farming culture will be there before your eyes. You can enjoy tasty Finnish food prepared from high-quality, pure local ingredients, and will have the opportunity to experience the closeness to nature that is characteristic of the traditional Finnish way of life.

Finland in a nutshell
  • Finland is located in northern Europe, between Sweden in the west and Russia in the east.
  • Finland has about 5 million inhabitants, and its capital is Helsinki.
  • Finland has been a member of the EU since 1995.
  • The unit of currency is the euro, which is divided into 100 cents.
  • Finland has a boreal climate, with daytime temperatures frequently over +20 C in the summer (June-August).
  • The midnight sun can be seen for some time in the north of the country in summer, and the days are long (about 20 hours of daylight) even in the south.
  • There is no need to worry about language problems. Although about 95 % of the inhabitants speak Finnish as their native language and about 5 % Swedish, the majority of people of working age have a good knowledge of English.
  • Apart from air travel, you can also reach Finland conveniently by sea from Germany (Finnlines) or from Sweden, e.g. on the daily sailings of the superb Silja Line and Viking Line ferries form Stockholm to Helsinki or Turku.
  • Travelling around Finland on your own is safe and easy. There is excellent public transport, with clean, modern trains and buses which also keep to their timetables! Cars can be hired through Avis, Budget, Rent-a-Car, Europcar Interrent, Hertz, Scandia Rent and Toyota Rent.