Best time to travel to Finland

Birdwatching in Finland 2024

The great nature of Finland and its nothern location makes it home to lots of unique bird species

Best time: March–September

Birdwatching
Birdwatching
Birdwatching
Birdwatching
Birdwatching

The diverse and unique nature of Finland is home to a great number of beautiful birds. Namely, you can find approximately 460 various species, including some rare species which can be hardly met anywhere else. This fact makes the country a famous birdwatching destination.

Some of the most popular species are black and great spotted woodpeckers, pygmies, great greys and snowy owls, white-tailed and golden eagles and some more can also be found here. You can find a large number of birds of prey. There are some 23 types of kites, hawks, and eagles, 9 types of falcon, and 11 types of owl.

April and May are when migrant birds return to their homes, especially the national bird—the whooper swan. The coastline is full of seabirds; the lakes and other wetlands are filled with cranes and whooper swans; forests are home to capercaillie and woodpeckers and owls and eagles are concentrated in Lapland.

The Liminganlahti Reserve near Oulu is one of the most famous birdwatching spots. Spring and autumn are migration seasons. The best time for seeing owls is between March and April, during the courtship season and through May and June during their nesting season with a help of guide. Some owls, like the snowy owl, great grey owl and hawk owl can also be seen during winter. There are guided birdwatching excursions provided throughout the country.

March and May are also a good time to observe grouse. These are concentrated in the geographical centre of Finland, although willow grouse and ptarmigan are mainly found in Lapland. March and April are again a good time for seeing woodpeckers, as it is courtship season. Lately, in May and June with the help of a guide, you can find them nesting in the forest. Lots of wader species live in Finland as well. You can find broad-billed sandpipers, jacksnipes, red-necked phalaropes, wood sandpipers, and spotted redshanks in the north of the country, mainly in the wet bogs. These are best seen during migration season in May and then again in September. Jack snipes can be observed during the courtship season between May and June.

Practical info

What is the variety of bird species found in Finland?

Finland has approximately 460 bird species, including rare species that are hardly found anywhere else. The country is particularly known for its birds of prey like white-tailed and golden eagles, kites, hawks, and falcons. Popular species are black and great spotted woodpeckers, pygmies, and snowy owls which can also be seen during winter. You can also find cranes, whooper swans, and capercaillie in different areas of the country. Show more

When is the ideal time to observe migrant birds in Finland?

The best time to observe migrant birds in Finland is from April to May when they start returning to the country. During this period, you can spot the national bird whooper swan accompanied by other water birds like cranes, ducks, and geese. Wader birds like broad-billed sandpipers, jacksnipes, and wood sandpipers can also be observed. These birds migrate back again in September, which is also a good time to observe them. Show more

Where is the most popular birdwatching site in Finland and what is unique about it?

The Liminganlahti Reserve located near Oulu is one of the most famous birdwatching spots in Finland. The reserve lies along the migration routes of different bird species, including rare and endangered ones. Thousands of birds pass through the nature reserve during spring and autumn, which makes it an ideal spot for birdwatchers. Multiple birdwatching tours guided by professionals are available, making the reserve a perfect destination for birdwatching enthusiasts. Show more

What is the best time to see owls in Finland and which species are most visible during winter?

The best time to see owls in Finland is during their nesting season around March to April. During their courtship season mainly in May and June, you may also spot them. Snowy, great grey, and hawk owls are a few species that are visible during winter. To have the best experience and spot wild owls, it is advised to hire a professional guide. Show more

What are some popular bird species in Finland besides whooper swans?

Besides the whooper swan, Finland is a habitat for other unique bird species, including eagles, kites, hawks, and falcons. Popular bird species include black and great spotted woodpeckers, pygmies, great greys, snowy owls, white-tailed and golden eagles, cranes, and capercaillie. Some wader species, including broad-billed sandpipers, jacksnipes, red-necked phalaropes, wood sandpipers, and spotted redshanks, can also be observed. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych