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The Lista region has one of the highest population of different birds. They travel from all over the world to feed in Lista during the autumn, before making their long journey to the southern part of Europe. There are bird watching stations at Lista Fyr, Harnanger and other locations around the area.
Lista Bird Observatory was founded in 1990, and runs campaigns with standardized mist netting and daily migration counts in the Lista Lighthouse area. The observatory is a member-based organization associated with the Norwegian Ornithological Society (Birdlife International partner).
The observatory's purpose is to document development of bird populations by monitoring bird migration over time. Since 2005, the observatory participates in the Directorate for Nature Management's programme for terrestrial monitoring (TOV).
Lista Bird Obervatory is operated by a board, and during spring and autumn campaigns bird ringers and field workers are employed. A nature guide also uses the observatory as origin for his activities, and is employed through Natur og Fritid AS. A good part of the field work at the observatory is performed by volunteers.