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Mild winter puts bird migration on hold in Finland

YLE NewsEye on the Arctic

The exceptionally mild winter has persuaded many birds to stick around in Finland for longer than usual.

Some small birds have even started to tweet spring songs.

Like many migratory birds this winter, the grey heron flying over Pickalan Bay in the municipality of Siuntio, in southern Finland, is in no big hurry to leave due to unseasonal mild weather.

With the sea and lakes unfrozen in much of the country, bird watchers still have plenty of use for their binoculars and telescopes.

Jan Södersved from Birdlife Finland says there are over a thousand tufted ducks in Pickalan Bay. Plenty of goosanders remain inland, and herring gulls also still abound.

Birds from the north stop over in southern Finland

The mist of the old city bay in Helsinki conceals flocks of redpolls, whose migratory flight from the north has been cut short in balmy southern Finland.

Here bird watchers have also spotted barnacle geese, which are highly unusual guests at these latitudes in January.

Spring songs in the air

There’s a touch of spring in the air, with some small birds starting to tweet unseasonal songs.

According to the Birdlife Finland spokesperson, the mild weather has already inspired spring song from some blackbirds and tits.

Small birds are not yet flocking to wintry feeding spots, as plenty of food is still available in the bare forests for them.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.