Bird migration map

The best time to bird watch is in the autumn and winter periods of bird migration when the birds make their annual journey from Northern and Central Europe to Africa. Over 240 species of birds can be observed in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, with close to 100 species that can be found in the marshes year round. However, approximately 140 species only make a stop, as they are migratory, meaning that they can be observed at certain times of the year only.

The birds’ migratory movements are produced in two different directions. During the autumn, the migration follows the mating and breeding season. The birds migrate to warmer climes to spend the winter. They fly to all the wet coastal areas from north to south, stopping to rest in the European marshes and wetlands where they feed before continuing on. This migration (August-October) is the most well-known, as the groups are formed by young and adult birds following the most direct route to the African continent, making an obligatory stop at Urdaibai.

In winter, the marshes fill with the noise of a multitude of birds that have chosen the river and its marshes as their winter quarters (November-February). When spring arrives, the birds resume their trip back to their breeding grounds in Northern and Central Europe (March-April).