Image size 22 Kb Birdlife in Finland

 

 
A Red-flanked bluetail is one good reason for coming to Finland. Every ornithologist in Europe knows that.

Red-flanked bluetail? Ornithologist? One is a small bird, the other a person whose spirit is driven by a desire to see as many species of birds as humanly possible. Birdwatching is passionate collecting. If it could not be described as downright crazy, then it is at least a craze.

And a Red-flanked bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus is a sight to drive anyone nuts, especially an old male with his dark-blue coat of feathers and glowing orange flanks. The species is both rare and extremely shy. It lives in gloomy primeval forests, where the only thing that reveals its presence is its song ringing out from the treetops in early morning.

The great grey owl and the Siberian jay are likewise denizens of the northern taiga. The former is an impressive sight when it stares from the gloom of the spruces with its piercing yellow eyes. A young one looks just like a troll. For its part, the Siberian jay is every hiker's friend, appearing every time one stops for a snack. Its raucous calls, whistles and whirling dance are so charming that the hiker cannot but throw it a scrap or two.

Besides those mysterious forest birds, Finland has a lot of other winged beauties to see. The best times are during the spring and autumn migrations, when V-formations of cranes fly high in the sky, flocks of water fowl gather in Baltic bays, swans glow like white clouds, and hawks ride the air currents.