Estonia gives you the chance to observe a spectacular massive bird migration. Its position lies on the crossroads of a major migratory flyway, between breeding and wintering areas for millions of Arctic waterbirds. The Estonian islands are perfect feeding stopover sites.
Birds can be observed from early April till October but mid-May is considered to be the best time for bird-watching. During this period you can see the greatest diversity of bird species possible. However, if you wish to visit protected areas from April 15 to July 15 you'll need a special permit.
You can observe the Scarlet Rose Finch, Honey Buzzards, White-tailed and Lesser Spotted Eagles, Montagu's Harriers, Great Snipes, Black Stork, and many others. Estonian coasts bring together a large number of seabirds before they take off. Hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese, swans, and millions of Scoters and Long-tailed Ducks stop here to feed and rest before a long trip to their arctic breeding grounds.
In autumn, from September to October, you can observe the massive arctic waterfowl migration. It gives you the chance to see such rare birds as the White-billed Diver or the Grey Phalarope. Lots of others like Brambling folks, Goldcrests, Long-tailed and Willow Tits, Red-throated Diver, Greater Scaup, Bent Geese, and Velvet Scoter also pass through Estonia during the first week of September.
When is the best time to visit Estonia for birdwatching during the mass migration season?
For prime birdwatching, mid-May to early June is the best time to visit Estonia as it offers the greatest variety of bird species possible in the country. Depending on the season, birders may also expect to see thousands of ducks, geese, swans, and millions of Scoters and Long-tailed Ducks. In autumn months such as September and October, there is a massive arctic waterfowl migration that can be observed as well. Show more
What kind of birds can be observed in Estonia during the migration season?
Visitors of Estonia can observe a wide variety of birds during the migration season such as Scarlet Rose Finch, Honey Buzzards, White-tailed, and Lesser Spotted Eagles, Black Stork, Great Snipes, and many others. In addition, long-tail divers and rare birds such as the White-billed Diver and the Grey Phalarope are seen in autumn months. Millions of ducks, geese, swans, and Scoters are also common to see. Show more
Are there any protected areas in Estonia where birdwatching requires a special permit?
In Estonia, special permits are required for birdwatchers who plan to visit protected bird areas during the breeding season, which falls between April 15 to July 15. Permits are available through the Estonian Environmental Board. Apart from those areas, visitors are welcome to enjoy birdwatching in other areas without permits and restrictions. Show more
Where is the best place in Estonia to observe the massive arctic waterfowl migration?
The best place to witness the massive arctic waterfowl migration in Estonia is on the second-largest island, Hiiumaa. The island offers a breath-taking view of millions of ducks, geese, and swans while the shorelines offer scenic sights for tourists. Matsalu National Park, Tartu, and other areas in Estonia are popular among bird viewers as well. Show more
Can I visit Estonia outside of May and still observe the mass bird migration?
Although mid-May is the ideal time to witness the mass bird migration in Estonia, visitors can still enjoy a migratory birdwatching experience in early April and from September to October. During autumn, visitors have the chance to see unique birds such as the White-billed Diver or the Grey Phalarope. Migratory birds pass through Estonia until October, providing a birdwatching experience throughout the year. Show more