Bird watching -a must if you sail to Norway!

Birding or bird watching is on the rise, according to a recent paper published by Innovation Norway, the country`s government company for innovation and development of Norwegian tourism.

Photo from the report showing birders in action.

Photo from the report showing birders in action.

 The report, written and researched by T. Amundsen and J. Fisk of Biotope which is the world ́s first and only architecture office specialising in birding, calls birding a celebration of nature in its simplest form. We can agree. Sailors and birds who`s medium is the wind, have more in common than you would think.

 A culture of its own

Birdlife Internatonal  estimates that 7 million people travel internationally every year to watch birds. There are 18 million birdwatchers in USA and 7.8 million birdwatchers in UK alone.  There are several categories of bird watchers, but a common denominator are of course birds. The overall category is avitourism. Avitourism, or avian tourism, is travel and tourism that focuses on and highlights local birding opportunties. Avitourism is one of the fastest growing types of environmental tourism, or ecotourism. This type of travel takes advantage of birding-related events, and many tourist destinations promote birding festivals, hotspots, trails, preserves, parks and other locations to encourage birders to visit an area.

Seagulls always appear when fishing in Norway. Photo by Daniel Novelllo

Seagulls always appear when fishing in Norway. Photo by Daniel Novelllo

Why Norway?

Among bird watchers, a survey within the paper, states that Norway is the second most attractive country to visit for birding. Only surpassed by Spain and France on third place. While birding can be done anywhere, the authors names three particulars for Norway:

  • Norway retains a feeling of a wilderness, with dramatic scenery, harsh but beautiful weather and an extant megafauna such as bears, wolverines, moose and whales.

  • The birdlife is extremely varied, seasonally and regionally. The natural wonder of migration is evident. Norway hosts species which are desirable for birders to see due to their rarity, beauty or because they are difficult to see elsewhere.

  • Thanks to great seasonal differences, birding in Norway is totally different experience at different times of the year, both in terms of scenery and wildlife. Visitors return to see the changes the country and its wildlife undertakes. 

There is an exclusivity with the birdlife of Norway, mainly thanks to the Arctic species to be found in Northern Norway, and in particular in Eastern Finnmark. The combination of species here at any time of the year are unique and unlike any European country, making this area extremely desirable to birders. A birder cannot find another easily accessible location where they have the chance of seeing King and Steller ́s Eiders, Snowy Owls, White-billed Divers, Brünnich ́s Guillemots and Gyrfalcon all within the same trip!

For a sailor planning on sailing to Norway, birding gives another good reason. Sailors have a culture on their own, not unlike the birding culture. Why not dip your toe into this?

The paper can be read in full here. 

Thanks to Tormod Amundsen at Biotope and Innovation Norway for highlighting an exiting aspect of Norway we knew very little about. 

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