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Bird migration late this spring

The migration of birds coming to nest in Finland has got off to a slow start this spring. For those who know to look out for them, bar-tailed godwits, for example, are conspicuous in their absence.

Hanhiaura
Birdwatchers gathered for 'Arktika Days' await birds at Vironlahti Bay on the Gulf of Bothnia. Image: Juha Korhonen / Yle

Some of the birdwatchers at Leervik at Vironlahti Bay, on the Gulf of Finland, have been waiting since four in the morning to catch a glimpse of flocks of birds on the horizon. This year birds coming to nest in artic areas are late, however, and the birdwatchers are left disappointed.

Bird enthusiast Kari Saarinen remembers better days, when the sky would be filled with barnacle geese and other water fowl.

Finally, a skein of geese appears in the sky. According to the birdwatchers, this is only a prelude to greater things to come. At sea near Haapasaari island await some one hundred thousand water birds, they say.

Exceptional migration

Jari Venemies misses bar-tailed godwits, which should already be streaming into Finland. But sightings remain few, as cool air currents and headwinds have put the godwits off from coming to nest here, for the time being.

When the conditions are right, millions of birds migrating from south to north will turn their beaks toward Finland. The huge number of birds, as well variety of species makes this migration exceptional even on a global scale.

Each year, the birds attract a few thousand nature- and birdlovers to Vironlahti bay. The annual event, dubbed "Arktika Days", is celebrated over ten days between the middle and end of May.

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