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The island of Runde is the southernmost bird cliff in Norway, and home to tens of thousands of birds, as well as a frequent stop for ornithologists - Photo: Per Eide
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The island of Runde is the southernmost bird cliff in Norway, and home to tens of thousands of birds, as well as a frequent stop for ornithologists Photo: Per Eide

Birdlife and birdwatching in Norway

Norway's birdlife is rich and varied. Here you can go birdwatching in virtually untouched nature.

During springtime the coast thrives with millions of birds heading north to their arctic breeding grounds. Localities such as Jæren, just south of Stavanger, provide some great birding with the chance of seeing divers (gaviiformes) and grebes (podicipedformes) as well as wildfowl (anseriformes) and waders (charadriiformes).

Experiencing the dawn chorus, hearing a woodpecker (piciformes) drumming from the depths of the pine woods, or for the lucky, seeing a displaying capercaillie (tetrao urogallus) are just some of the highlights a morning walk in the woods can provide.

Birdsong unplugged

By late March wetlands and marshes spring to life with different bird sounds. Whooper swans (cygnus cygnus) heading north are always noisy, their honking call echoing through the air.

Northern lapwings (vanellus vanellus) will be displaying and if you listen carefully, you just may hear the vibrating drumming sound of a common snipe (gallinago gallinago).

Bustling summer

Some of the mountain habitats to visit during the summer months are Hardangervidda, Dovrefjell and Fokstumyra. Here you will find species such as dotterel (charadrius morinellus), red-necked phalarope (phalaropus lobatus), horned lark (eremophila alpestris), bluethroat (luscinia svecica), Lapland bunting (calcarius lapponicus), snow bunting (plectrophenax nivalis) and if you are lucky you might see a snowy owl (bubo scandiacus).

Summer is also a time to head out to the west coast. By then Norway’s world famous seabird colonies are bustling with activity. Islands such as Runde and Røst are almost biblical in the realms of Norwegian ornithology. Tens of thousands of birds nest here, including huge colonies of puffins (fratercula arctica).

Go north

Another locality worth visiting is the Varanger peninsula in Finnmark. This is undoubtedly one of Europe’s premier birding areas. Here you will find true arctic species such as steller’s eider (polysticta stelleri), king eider (somateria spectabilis), brünnich’s guillemot (uria lomvia) and red-throated pipit (anthus cervinus).

Scandinavian specialities such as northern hawk owl (surnia ulula), three-toed woodpecker (picoides tridactylus), Siberian tit (poecile cincta), Siberian jay (perisoreus infaustus) and great grey owl (strix nebulosa) also live here.

Northern Norway also has the biggest population in Europe of white-tailed eagles. From here, the species has spread to most of the Norwegian coastline, and eagles from Norway have even been brought over to help repopulate Scotland with these majestic birds.

Rewarding fall

Fall is a hectic time. The months of September and October may be the most rewarding, especially if you are on the lookout for rarer species.

Once again, it is the coast; with places such as the Lista peninsula on the south coast and the tiny island Utsira, which offers the best birdwatching during these months.

Birdwatching in the city

Visit Østensjøvannet - a shallow and eutrophic lake with a habitat that is not common in Norway. The lake is situated a few kilometres southeast from the center of Oslo. The nature reserve and bird observatory at Fornebu on the outskirts of Oslo is also a place worth a visit. If you wish to explore mountain habitats and coniferous forests without leaving the urban lifestyle behind, you should travel to the Fløyen Mountain in Bergen.

Unique self-guided birdwatching system with Din Tur

The Norwegian nature travel tour company Din Tur has developed the first GPS-based self-guided birdwatching system in the world. The system consists of a GPS-unit and a folder with information about local birds and bird sites. The GPS navigator uses pre-programmed points of interest (POIs), which are connected to a description of the species you can expect to find in the area and a recommended strategy. The folder also includes a "latest sightings log book", making it easy for you to choose where to go.

The self-guided birding system is available at the best birdwatching destinations in Norway, such as Dovrefjell and Rondane, Trondheimsfjord , Vega , Lierne and Børgefjell, Pasvik and Varangerfjord. If you prefer a traditional guided birdwatching trip with a local guide, Din Tur can help you with that as well. You will be guided by one of the best field ornithologists in Norway.

Photo hides for better pictures

Norway is an excellent destination for nature photographers, but many birds are difficult to catch on camera – even the common species. Success can require months of feeding, familiarization and most importantly, a good photo hide. Din Tur's photo hides help you to take pictures of birds and wildlife that would normally need considerable preparation. The hides have been carefully designed and tested according to the relevant background, surroundings, lighting, distance to the object and comfort. Wild animals are unpredictable; there is no guarantee that they will turn up when you want them to, but the right photo hide can guarantee that the conditions are the best.

Din Tur offers photo hides for Norways most sought after birds; capercaillie, black grouse and great snipe lekkings, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, marten and pygmy owl, goshawk visiting baits and floating hides for Slavonian grebe, king eider, steller's eider and long-tailed duck, just to mention a few.

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Last updated:  2014-11-13
White-tailed eagles eat mainly sea birds or fish, but are opportunists and not adverse to carrion - Photo: Stein Olav Sivertsen
White-tailed eagles eat mainly sea birds or fish, but are opportunists and not adverse to carrion
The King Eider can sometimes be found in the Trondheimsfjord area in Norway - Photo: Terje Kolaas / www.bird.dintur.no
The King Eider can sometimes be found in the Trondheimsfjord area in Norway
The Trondheimsfjord area in Norway is home to various species of bird, such as the Great Snipe - Photo: Terje Kolaas / www.bird.dintur.no
The Trondheimsfjord area in Norway is home to various species of bird, such as the Great Snipe
Much of the island of Runde is a bird sanctuary, to protect birds that live there, such as puffins - Photo: Magnar Fjørtoft/Destination Ålesund & Sunnmøre
Much of the island of Runde is a bird sanctuary, to protect birds that live there, such as puffins
If you walk quietly through the woods you may hear the Black Woodpecker pecking - Photo: Terje Kolaas / www.bird.dintur.no
If you walk quietly through the woods you may hear the Black Woodpecker pecking

Interest:  Nature attractions, Tours & Safaris, Bird life

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The island of Runde is the southernmost bird cliff in Norway, and home to tens of thousands of birds, as well as a frequent stop for ornithologists - Photo: Per Eide

Birdlife and birdwatching in Norway

Norway's birdlife is rich and varied. Here you can go birdwatching in virtually untouched nature.

Birdlife and birdwatching in Norway

Source: Visitnorway

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