A black stork, whom birdwatchers call Raivo, had recently been en route from the Middle East to his nesting grounds in Estonia, when suddenly he made a U-turn in Romania and headed a few hundred kilometers back south.
Such backtracking is typical, according to ornithologists who use geographical tracking devices to follow migrating birds like Raivo, but it is a sign that weather is not yet warm enough, reported Õhtuleht.
Conditions are still wintry in the north, and most of the birds being tracked are in the Mediterranean, with Ilmar, an osprey, still in Chad. Weather forecasters are still predicting below-freezing nighttime temperatures and snow and sleet for this week.
"We have never had such a bad [birdwatching] year, not even close. There are so few types of birds and so few birds in general,“ said Estonian ornithological society representative Riho Kinks.
Once spring does arrive, it will take just a few days for the birds to make their way from central Europe to Estonia.
The birds can be followed on a publicly viewable migration map.