Saaremaa´s nature is worth visiting all year round. In the spring, thousands of migratory birds arrive to our shores and islets to remain here to nest. In autumn the area is a perfect place for birds to feed and rest on their way to South.
Tracking and watching an enormous flock is a special and unforgettable experience. You are welcome to enjoy the wildlife, the beautiful coastline and peruse our birdlife.
During the migration there are over thousands of waterfowl and passerines who fly over Saaremaa. Coasts, swamps and marshes, and the uninhabited islets and bays provide them with plenty of good and safe nesting grounds. In summer, you can keep track of how old birds grow and teach the little ones. On the coast you may see the curious water seals. Take some time off and feel yourself as a part of nature!
Bird-watching as a hobby is becoming more and more popular. It is enlarged to compete with each other - there are all kinds of species lists and charts and organized competitions.
Background information- there are a total of 384 recorded bird species, of which 210 are birds of regulars, the rest is mostly conducted migrants or winter visitors, however, about 115 species have mistakenly arrived here and are very rare for us. Active bird-watcher who visits the best birding sites in Estonia on a regular basis throughout the year, records about 220-230 species of birds , with a lot of hard work we can get a total of 250 species.
The bird tourism season begins as early as March, when the primary magnet is Steller’s eider (Polysticta stelleri), which winters on Saaremaa. Spring migration culminates in mid-May and the bird observation season winds down by mid-June. The autumn migration is more modest, but draws enthusiasts to Estonia in September and October as well. You will almost certainly hear the powerful trumpet sounds of the flocks of cranes during this time.
For more information about bird species and bird watching visit Estonian eBiodiversity website.
Bird watching areas and observation towers
Sõrve säär- bird-watching station on Sõrve peninsula is one of the best birding sites in Estonia, however, the bird-watching is no longer as active as it was in the late 1990s or the 2000s. It seems that a lot of bird watchers have gone to disccover other migration observatories.
There is a reason to worry- in recent years the abundance of tourists and surfers has started to interfere the observation - it just scares the birds away. Sõrve bird station doings are organized by Estonian Birding Society and you can find information on what is going on from their observation diary.
Linnulahe bird-watching tower(picture)- it can be accessed from the marked boardwalk which starts behind the 'Tuulte Roos' kindergarten. The tower provides excellent views over the surrounding nature reserve and its bird and animal life. It was completed in November 2010.
Loodenina bird-watching tower- a good place for bird and nature observations located by the sea . Drive by Kuressaare-Sõrve road for 3 km and leave your car at the Loode oak-wood's parking place. Signs will guide you to the observation tower. It is about 2 km through the oak-wood.
Roomassaare bird-watching tower- This bird-watching tower, situated close to Kuressaare Airport just off the track linking the city park and Roomassaare harbour, was constructed in 2009. It can be accessed on foot or by bike. From the tower you can see Kuressaare Bay, the boating lane into the yacht harbour, Kuressaare itself, Roomassaare and Nasva harbours and the Vahase and Loode oak groves.
Põduste nature- birdwatching tower- from Põduste tower you can see the frequently flooded Põduste (Tori) river and the meadow with its birdlife. In addition the great views of the golf course in Kuressaare. The tower is accessible from the historic Great Bridge (Kihelkonna road).
Vilsandi National Park- includes the island of Vilsandi with the surrounding islets and rocks, and the bays of Kihelkonna, Kuusnõmme and Atla and the islands inside. Vilsandi National Park covers about 100 islands and 180 square kilometres. The Vilsandi Island is the only inhabited island in the protected area. The island’s coastline is serrated with inlets, capes and a multitude of inshore islets. Characteristic of its nature is maritime climate, many bird species, it has characteristic vegetation and captivating fauna of the brackish sea.
In national park there is a 12 m high wooden Käkisilma observation tower, which offers a beautiful view on Vilsandi National Park, Kihelkonna and Kuusnõmme Bay and the little islet in them.
Viidumäe Nature Reserve- Viidumäe nature conservation area treasures the wildlife, rare species, communities and habitats of the western part of the Saaremaa Island. Today, there are approximately 700 known species of vascular plants there, among them 59 protected rarities. Also 675 large butterfly species, 660 species of fungi and over 200 species of spiders, 91 bird species and 230 species of moss and lichen.
There are spectacular views of the Saaremaa Island from the Rauna observation tower. Enjoy the stunning views over the entire western part of the Saaremaa Island from the observation tower on the Rauna hill, the highest peak along the “backbone” of the island (54 m above sea level).