Birds' spring migration already underway ({{commentsTotal}})

The first of Estonia's migratory birds have already been making their way back to the country, including swans, larks, lapwings and geese — species that winter relatively nearby, in warmer parts of Europe.

When exactly this year’s spring migration will peak is yet too early to say, as according to ornithologists, it would require a more serious heat wave, ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.

Compared to previous years, this year’s migration began somewhat sooner than average.

"This winter was mild, with isolated periods of cold," ornithologist Marko Valker explained. "A lot of migratory birds awaited their return in neighboring countries, not that far away at all from us. Their progress depends in large part on how the weather progresses, and so if the weather is already remotely favorable, then they will keep moving on northward to where there are remotely favorable conditions for feeding."

Some people have expressed concern on social media over how swans who have already arrived in the country can get by if Estonia’s coastal waters remain covered in ice.

According to Valker, however, swans will move around according to where cracks and holes form in the ice. "If the weather should turn colder and water become inaccessible for some reason, these swans will just migrate back [south]," he said, adding that some natural loss of specimens unable to react quickly enough is an inevitable part of natural selection.

The ornithologist noted that the arrival of the peak of spring migration would depend on when temperatures would warm up enough to melt the ice currently still covering local bodies of water and increase the activity of invertebrates upon which the migrating birds feast while stopped on the country’s fields.

Click on the gallery above to see pictures of some of the bird species that have already arrived in Estonia or are expected to arrive this spring.

Editor: Aili Vahtla