Catch a glimpse of the mighty Sea Eagle as it dives down to catch its dinner.
And experience huge Atlantic Puffin colonies, which come here to nest.
Whether you are a dedicated birder, a wildlife photographer, or just keen on seeing fascinating birds, Norway is a paradise!
Birdwatching is big in Norway, and there are lots of exciting sites to visit. Learn where to experience the mighty Sea Eagle on a guided tour and hw to secure photos of cute Atlantic Puffins, and get excellent tips on where to travel from a birdwatching expert.
Explore rich wildlife
Of the world’s approximately 9,000 bird species, around 300 have their natural habitat in Norway, in addition to approx. 200 rarer, migrating species found at certain places and times of the year.
Sea Eagles can be spotted along the coast from Southern Norway and all the way up to Varanger in Northern Norway. There are plenty of amazing guided Sea Eagle safaris you can join.
“Birdwatching and outdoor games on your phone, like Pokémon GO, have much of the same driving force that appeals to explorers,” says Bjørn Olav Tveit, author of A Birdwatcher’s Guide to Norway.
“The joy of birdwatching lies in exploring nature that you would normally miss. The more you delve into this hobby, the more you discover," he says. “To locate and find a rare specimen is like catching a huge trout. It’s all about tactics, knowledge, and endurance".
“Take the Arctic Warbler. It sings during two short weeks in late June, in the dense birch forest surrounding the beautiful Neiden church in Finnmark county. The rest of the year, this species is practically impossible to locate.”
“Vocally, the song is quite monotonous and boring,” admits Bjørn Olav admits. “But the fascination is about timing, location, and experiencing pristine nature. Especially when you know that this is one of the few places in Europe outside of Siberia you can expect to spot the little songbird of the north.”
Respect the environment
As a group, birdwatchers are almost always passionate about showing respect for the environment.
“There is a common unwritten code of conduct – you respect the nature and the wildlife,” says Bjørn Olav.
Unfortunately, nest looting does happen. But beware: “Local birdwatching enthusiasts and other locals will normally notice and eventually call the police if they observe humans or vehicles suspiciously close to a protected Gyrfalcon nest, for instance” says Bjørn Olav.
“Birdwatching is generally good for the environment, because it makes people conscious of the fragility of nature and the rarity of its wild animals,” he says, adding: “For example, birdwatchers keep an appropriate distance by bringing their smartphones to take pictures through their binoculars. You can even make good sound recordings from a considerable distance.”
If you want to spot some birds yourself, you can download illustrated apps, such as Birds of Northern Europe and Collins Bird Guide, both of which include recordings of the songs and calls of all the species you can hope to encounter.
On the website Artsobservasjoner.no, birdwatchers all over the country report their latest observations.
Where to observe wild birds
Pack your gear, head outdoors, be patient, and listen. Here are some fantastic birdwatching sites you should visit in Norway.
A long coast
The west coast is home to Norway’s world-famous seabird colonies. Islands such as Runde outside Ålesund, Røst in Lofoten and Lovund at the Helgeland coast are legendary in Norwegian ornithology and include huge colonies of Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica).
The Varanger peninsula in Finnmark is one of Europe’s top birding areas. The peninsula is home to Arctic species such as Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri), King Eider (Somateria spectabilis), Brünnich’s Guillemot (Uria lomvia) and Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus), as well as Scandinavian species including the Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula), Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus), Siberian Tit (Poecile cincta), Siberian Jay (Perisoreus infaustus), and Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa).
Northern Norway also has the biggest population of White-tailed Eagles in Europe. From here, the species has spread to most of the Norwegian coastline. Eagles from Norway have even been brought over to help repopulate Scotland with these majestic birds.
The idyllic islands of Smøla in Fjord Norway, are also a fantastic place to go on an eagle safari. This area is said to have one of the densest population of sea eagles in the world.
In Trøndelag you should visit Ørlandet on the coast outside of Trondheim. It's one of Norway's most important wetland areas and a natural stopover for migrating birds. Further into the Trondheimfjord, the island of Tautra is also a hotspot for birdwatching, with more than 269 different species to discover.
The Østensjøvannet lake a few kilometres southeast of Oslo city centre is a shallow and eutrophic lake with a habitat that is not commonly found in Norway. West of the city centre, you’ll find the nature reserve and bird observatory at Fornebu. Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen, is known for its mountain habitats and coniferous forests that you can explore just minutes from the city centre.
Find the perfect place to see your favourite bird, or join a guided birdwatching tour.
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