There are 460 bird species in Finland, although 7 of these have not been seen since 1950. Thanks to Finland as the easternmost country in Europe and one of the most northerly in the world, there are a number of species that are rarely seen elsewhere in Europe, making Finland very popular with bird watchers everywhere. Bird watching in Finland is a true experience.
Those who make the journey come to see black and great spotted woodpeckers; nuthatches, great owls and snowy owls; sea and golden eagles; merlins; small reed geese; matheads (tit) brown-headed tits; black grouse and capercaillie; and many others that are rare elsewhere. There is a particularly large number of birds of prey, including some 23 species of kites, hawks and eagles, 9 species of falcons, 11 species of owls and the osprey. Finnish birdwatchers greet spring with great enthusiasm, with April and May being the busiest months as many migrants return north, including Finland’s national bird, the elegant whooper swan.
The coastline is then full of seabirds; at the lakes and other wetlands you will see many cranes and whooper swans; and forests are home to capercaillie, woodpeckers and owls and eagles in Lapland.
The Liminganlahti Reserve near Oulu is one of the most famous bird watching spots. Spring and autumn are migration seasons. The best time to see owls is between March and April, during courtship season, and May and June during their breeding season with the help of a guide. Some owls such as the snowy owl, the great gray owl and the hawk owl can also be seen in winter. Guided birding excursions are organized throughout the country.
March and May are also a good time to observe grouse. These are concentrated in the geographic center of Finland, although grouse and ptarmigan are mainly found in Lapland. March and April are again a good time to see woodpeckers.
Birds native to Finland naturally include ducks, gulls, terns and auks, as well as waders, which are considered archipelago birds and traditionally nest on the coast. Birds of prey, such as sea eagles and ospreys, can also be found in the archipelago of southwestern Finland.