Falsterbo Bird Observatory

Falsterbo Bird Observatory began operating nearly 60 years ago. During the first decades ringing was the main operational area. This was largely conducted in the lighthouse garden near Falsterbo peninsulas south-western cape, Nabben. Nowadays the tasks include counting breeding, resting and migrating birds.

Falsterbo lighthouse. Photo: P-G Bentz/sturnus.se.

With its isolated location the lighthouse garden exerts a great attraction to nightly migrating birds, which at dawn interrupts their flight to rest and look for food. The birds are caught in specially designed nets, ringed and released again. The original purpose of ringing birds was to get a picture of the different species migration routes via reported recoveries and wintering areas but also an understanding of the birds longevity and causes of death.

The Bird Observatory´s millionth bird, a Blue Tit, being ringed. Photo: P-G Bentz/sturnus.se.

Since 1980 the birding station has conducted a standardized catchment of migrating birds in the lighthouse garden. This means that about 25 000 birds are ringed annually and it is not only the information regarding the mysteries of bird migration which is of use but also these statistics are used for environmental monitoring services. The birds react quickly to changes in the environment, whether it is about environmental contaminants or climate variations. Fluctuations in the annual catch figures give us indications of how the environment is changing for better or worse. Ringing has thus become an important tool for environmental monitoring.

Falsterbo Bird Observatory collaborates with researchers at the Department of Animal Ecology, Lund University. Currently radar studies of migration and orientation tests are being done.

Falsterbo Bird Observatory also participates in practical bird welfare. Measures to ensure Avocets breeding in the Flommen Nature Reserve is an example.

Tracking radar at the Falsterbo peninsula.  Photo: P-G Bentz/sturnus.se.
An increasingly important part of Falsterbo Bird Observatory's activities is public relations. Annually thousands of people are guided. Important target groups are children and adolescents, but also organizations, associations and others are offered close encounters with birds and informed insight into bird migration, bird station activities, ecological interactions, and current environmental issues.
A European Robin in the hand fascinates. Photo: P-G Bentz/sturnus.se.