Archipelago birds are a visual representation of marine nature

The nesting birds of the archipelago are one of the most prominent and best-known expressions of marine nature. The abundance of large and easily recognisable birds, as well as the interest in this species group, makes bird-spotting one of the most practised hobbies in Finland.

Among the birds occurring in Finland, those species considered to be archipelago birds which traditionally nest on the coast include ducks, seagulls, terns, and razorbills, as well as wading birds. Birds of prey, such as sea eagles and ospreys, can also be found in the archipelago.

Each year, dozens of volunteers participate in archipelago bird nesting censuses, which aid in monitoring the development of bird populations. In Finland, the migration of arctic birds is monitored in a large public event, known as the Arktikan, and is the annual highlight of many wildlife enthusiasts.

Birds, especially duck species, have played a very important role in our history as food for humans. Bird hunting is still an important part of our archipelago culture today.

A bird searches for food in the sandy shallows.
Wading birds spend time on the sands of Hailuoto Island.

The Baltic Sea provides a place for food and rest

In addition to breeding birds, large numbers of birds, such as long-tailed ducks, come to Finnish marine areas to rest, especially during the autumn migration. As ice winters continue to decrease, the sea areas of southern Finland will become increasingly important as overwintering locations.

Birds take advantage of the Baltic Sea as their nesting environment, where they find wooded islands and coastal reed beds, as well as barren islets in the outer archipelago. In addition, the sea provides nourishment, such as blue mussels and fish.

Birds are protected by the Nature Conservation Act and the Bird Directive

The status of bird populations also reflects the state of the Baltic Sea. For example, the numbers of eider duck have decreased, due to increased predation pressure. By contrast, the cormorant has become much more common. The increase in the number of cyprinid fish species, such as roach, is thought to be part of this observed change.

Some species need protection because of their endangered status. Therefore, they are protected under various regulations, such as the Nature Conservation Act and the EU Birds Directive, while their habitats are safeguarded in nature protection areas.

A tern hovers in the sky.
A tern hovers in the sky.