Ornithologists: Tallinn the most diverse Estonian location for birdwatching

A common starling.
A common starling. Source: Kirke Rannas

The Estonian Ornithological Society, also known as Birdlife Estonia, held a birdwatching day in Estonian cities on Sunday. The capital city of Tallinn was awarded as the most diverse Estonian city by species diversity - 85 different birds were identified on Sunday.

The last time such a birdwatching initiative was organized in Estonia was in 2019 with Haapsalu awarded as the most species-rich location in Estonia. Tallinn took the crown this year with 85 different species spotted.

The first-ever birdwatching day in Estonian cities took place in 2002. "City birdwatching brings people outside in the spring to notice arriving migratory birds and to raise awareness that birds can be observed everywhere and cities are exceptionally diverse places, especially in the spring migration period," birdwatching coordinator and ornithologist Tarvo Valker told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Sunday.

In earlier years, participants were put in teams, but as there is a pandemic, the event's rules were adjusted to allow people participate alone, in pairs, or with their family. Observation results had to be sent in via e-mail.

Sander Sirelbu took part in the event on his own. "It is good right now, migration is taking place, spring has started, species are coming in diligently," he noted.

Tarvo Valker said both visual observation and voice recognition are important in spotting species. "You see birds on the coasts, in forests, where vision is limited, you have to put more emphasis on identifying them by voice," he said.

The number of species has been different each year. "In very early spring, you can see more than 80 different bird species in western Estonian cities in half a day, but if winters have been long, there have even been less than 50 species observed so the diversity can differ greatly," Valker noted.

This year's event saw more than 80 participants from 23 cities, a total of 116 species were identified.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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