10th Migratory Bird Days in the Wadden Sea National Park of Lower Saxony

13–21 October 2018

The Wadden Sea is an important stopover for birds along the East Atlantic Flyway. Millions of migratory birds use the North Sea’s coastal wetlands as a roosting and feeding area. Every year in autumn, they pass through the Wadden Sea on their journey from their Arctic breeding grounds to their wintering areas in West Africa. In spring, they return and restore their energy reserves. As it is considered one of the most important areas for migratory birds in the world, the UNESCO inscribed the Wadden Sea on the World Heritage List in 2009.

The annual Migratory Bird Days – nine days in autumn dedicated to migratory birds and bird migration – are held along the German coast from the Dutch border to the Elbe River and on its seven inhabited islands from Borkum to Wangerooge. The programme offers a variety of more than 200 public events, which are entertaining, playful, thoughtful, artistic or culinary – and therefore appeal to everyone in one way or the other! For example, you could take part in a field trip to the best birding spots by foot, bike or boat, go to a concert or theatre play or learn more about feathers during a workshop.


Some examples of the programme as well as further information on the children’s drawing contest can be found below. Each event listed is accompanied by an English-speaking guide. If you have any questions about the events listed below or would like to find out about further events, please contact the organisers. For general information on the Migratory Bird Days, please contact the the Wadden Sea National Park Authority in Lower Saxony at poststelle@nlpv-wattenmeer.niedersachsen.de.

„Zugvogelmusik“ – the music of migrants

After the success of the first „migratory bird music“ concert in August 2017, this unusual evening festival continues and invites you to see and hear the cultural diversity along the East Atlantic Flyway. Nine musicians and bands from nine countries between northern Europe and western Africa, some of them on a long journey as well, present authentic songs from their home countries and associate them with nine species of Wadden Sea birds that pass through these regions during their migration. In this way, the Wadden Sea as a central “stage” for these migrants is illustrated in a brand new way and raises awareness for the diversity of nature and culture and the need to protect the entire East Atlantic Flyway.

Concert tickets are available at www.kulturetage.de and www.nordwest-ticket.de. The Kulturetage is accessible at all levels. More information at www.zugvogelmusik.de.

Date: 15 September 2018, 20.00 hrs
Location: Kulturetage, Bahnhofstraße 11, 26122 Oldenburg, Germany Google Map
Organisers: National Park Authority, Run United
Fee: advance sale 24/29 €, box office sale 27/32 €

Experience the fascinating world of bird migration in the Weser River estuary

The “Ferienzentrum am Deich” in Burhave offers fantastic opportunities to experience bird migration right on its doorstep. It is also a perfect starting point to explore the region of Butjadingen. This peninsula between the Weser and Jade Rivers offers a lot during the Migratory Bird Days: great birdwatching spots near salt marshes, mud flats, the Weser River and marshes, a Migratory Bird Party in the national park visitor centre and museum in Fedderwardersiel, specialist lectures and a lot more. Furthermore, you can take part in a special tour to the Lune Plate, Bremen’s largest nature conservation area. Come and experience the fascinating bird migration during an extended weekend, accompanied by the ornithologist Dr. Kai Pagenkopf.

Please book by October 8 at burhave.rezeption@awosano.de or +49 4733 870. The number of participants is limited to 10, so that we can individually cater to your needs and interests. The “Ferienzentrum am Deich” is an inclusion centre for guests and staff; the entire youth hostel is fully accessible.

Date: from 12 October 2018, 17.30 hrs, until 15 October 2018, 12.00 hrs
Organisers: AWO SANO Nordsee (national park partner) and National Park Museum and Visitor Centre Fedderwardersiel
Meeting point: Am Deich 39, 26969 Burhave, Germany Google Map
Fee: from 195 € in a double room, 230 € in a single room (full board, pool and sauna, incl. programme); transfer through car-sharing
Equipment: rubber boots, rainwear, solid walking shoes, binoculars, camera
Download: Programme

Let’s go to Heligoland and watch migratory birds!

Heligoland is a tiny archipelago in the open North Sea and a paradise for birders, since a lot of migratory birds stop here along the way to their wintering grounds – and get ringed. Lars Burnus, expert on the migratory birds of Heligoland, explains the significance of bird ringing, accompanies us on the island as well as to the nearby “Düne”, a small dune island, and invites us to a birding trip by night. There will be some free time as well to go birding on your own and exchange experiences.

The company Carl Zeiss Sports Optics GmbH will provide high-end binoculars for every participant during the trip.

The number of participants is limited! For registration and more information please contact the Wadden Sea Visitor Centre in Wilhelmshaven (+49 4421 9107-30 or ) until 1 October 2017. The trip will last two days, during which about 27 hours are spent on the island.

Date: 15 October 2018, 07.45 hrs, until 16 October 2018, 20.30 hrs
Organiser: UNESCO World Nature Heritage Wadden Sea Visitor Centre Wilhelmshaven
Meeting point:
UNESCO-Weltnaturerbe Wattenmeer Besucherzentrum Wilhelmshaven
Südstrand 110B, 26382 Wilhelmshaven, Germany Google Map
Fee: adults 249 € (single room) or 239 € (per person in a double room) incl. breakfast, incl. a return bus transfer from Wilhelmshaven to Cuxhaven and a ferry ride to Heligoland, luggage transport, ferry shuttle to the “Düne” and guide
Equipment: rainwear, solid walking shoes, binoculars, camera

Bird observatory at the mudflats in Varel – migratory birds from a different perspective

The bird observatory, specifically constructed for the Migratory Bird Days, has already become a well-known attraction. It is located right at the mudflats at Varel’s harbour and provides spectacular views over Jade Bay. It is the perfect spot to watch migratory birds in the foreshore and on the mudflats. The majority of birds is near the observatory three hours before high tide; this is therefore the best time for birding. Ornithologists will be present daily from 10 am to 6 pm and provide you not only with a pair of binoculars and spotting scopes but also with information about the birds and their migratory behaviour, the national park and Jade Bay.

The path leading to the observatory is bumpy, the observatory platforms can only be reached via a steep staircase, the observatory is therefore not accessible for people with physical disabilities.

Dates: 13–21 October 2018, 10.00–18.00 hrs
Meeting point: Vareler Außentief (harbour exit), 26316 Varel, Germany Google Maps
Organiser: Wadden Sea National Park Authority of Lower Saxony
Equipment: rainwear, solid walking shoes, binoculars
Fee: free of charge

Migratory birds in all seasons –exhibition to the photo contest „CalenderBirds“

Migratory birds are in the Wadden Sea in all seasons; besides, most birds that nest here are in fact migrating. We received many photos that illustrate the year-round fascination of migratory birds; however, only 13 made it into the calendar. This exhibition in the Wadden Sea Visitor Centre Cuxhaven shows a large selection of the most beautiful, interesting and funny images that were sent in; afterwards, the prints are handed to the different photographers involved. Use your chance to see these wonderful images of migratory birds in one exhibition!

The visitor centre is easily accessible at all levels, a WC for handicapped people is available.

Dates: from 7 October to 30 November 2018 during opening times
Location: UNESCO-Weltnaturerbe Wattenmeer-Besucherzentrum Cuxhaven
Nordheimstraße 200, 27476 Cuxhaven, Germany Google Map
Organisers: Wadden Sea Visitor Centre Cuxhaven, National Park Authority
Fee: free of charge

Stopover at the Robbenplate: Boat excursion into the World Natural Heritage

Go on a boat trip with national park guide Joke Pouliart and watch hundreds of migratory birds that congregate in large flocks on the mudflats of Langeoog. They make a stopover here to boost their energy reserves for their onward journey to the south. A tour to see harbour seals is also planned.

Tickets can be obtained at the ferry terminal in Bensersiel (Am Hafen 20); the number of participants is limited to 100; weather-dependent. Please bring warm and waterproof clothing and a pair of binoculars, if possible. People with walking disabilities are asked to book at least one day in advance; electric wheelchairs are not suitable.

Date: 16 October 2018, 13.30–16.00 hrs
Organiser: Schifffahrt Langeoog
Meeting point: Ferry terminal for Langeoog, 26427 Esens-Bensersiel, Germany Google Map
Fee: adults 13,50 €, children from 6 to 15 years 8,00 €, children younger than 6 free of charge
Equipment: Binoculars

Cycling tour and breakfast for early birds

During this cycling tour in the early morning with a few walks into the meadows and dunes here and there you will realise that it is worth to get up early: Langeoog at sunrise offers not only an impressive landscape but also bird migration “live”. Early in the morning a lot of the birds that usually migrate at night can be observed on their “rescue” island. Dr. Kai Pagenkopf knows the best birding sites on the island and will entertain you with a lot of information about the different species and the East Atlantic Flyway.

Following the cycling tour, you can enjoy a wonderful breakfast buffet in “Haus Dünenlust”. Enjoy fair trade coffee, cappuccino or regional tea, delicious organic food, home-made jam and whole-grain bread.

The number of participants is limited to 15. Registration is required. You can buy tickets at Langeoog’s tourist information centre in the town hall.

Date: 17 October 2018, 7.45–9.45 hrs
Organiser: Haus Dünenlust (national park partner)
Meeting point: Willrath-Dreesen-Straße 90, 26465 Langeoog, Germany Google Maps
Fee: adults 24 € (incl. breakfast), children under 16 years 20 € (incl. breakfast), without breakfast: adults 10 €, children 8 €
Equipment: bicycle, solid walking shoes and, if possible, binoculars

Migratory birds ahead! Birding aboard a catamaran

A tour by catamaran to the migratory birds of the Wadden Sea. Have you ever heard an eider duck coo? Have you ever listened to the concert of curlews and redshanks? Arvid Männicke is a skipper but also a certified guide to the mudflats and shows you migratory birds on the island from aboard his catamaran. Since the catamaran sails noiselessly, we are able to watch and hear the birds without disturbing sounds from the engine. A very special experience in nature!

The number of participants is limited to 8. Tickets are sold at the tourist information in the town hall. Registration required by phone (+49 171 8909238) or by email ( ). Weather-dependent. Please bring warm and waterproof clothing and a pair of binoculars, if possible. The boat is not accessible at ground level.

13 October 2018, 07.45–09.45 hrs
14 October 2018, 08.30–10.30 hrs
15 October 2018, 09.00–11.00 hrs
16 October 2018, 09.45–­11.45 hrs
17 October 2018, 10.30­–12.30 hrs
18 October 2018, 11.30–13.30 hrs
19 October 2018, 13.00–15.00 hrs
20 October 2018, 14.30–16.30 hrs
21 October 2018, 15.30–17.30 hrs
Organiser: Arvid Männicke (national park guide)
Meeting point: Segelschule Langeoog, Hafendeichstraße 15, 26465 Langeoog, Germany Google Maps
Fee: 29 € per person
Equipment: rainwear, binoculars

Seabird-watching during a breakfast at “Seeblick”

The beachfront café “Seeblick” offers a 180° panoramic view to Borkum’s northern beach and the birds above the sea. The café opens its doors exclusively for Migratory Bird Days early birders and enables us to spot migratory birds or the random species of the high seas. With the help of trained guides, we can watch migrating geese and ducks and, if we are lucky, even divers, gannets and guillemots. This challenging but exciting way of bird-watching – seabird-watching – is here only possible on the Frisian Islands. And only here, at the café “Seeblick”, can you indulge in a yummy breakfast at the same time.

Please book ahead at the café by phone (+49 4922 3371) or by e-mail ( ). Please remember to bring warm and rainproof clothing as well as a spotting scope, if you have. If the weather is unsuitable, we will watch from indoors. The café is accessible at ground level.

18 and 19 October 2018, 08:00–10.30 hrs
Organisers: national park rangers, NLWKN, café „Seeblick”
Meeting point: Strandcafé Seeblick, Waterdelle 48, Borkum, Germany Google Map
Fee: personal breakfast costs
Equipment: raingear, binoculars

Children’s drawing contest for emerging artists up to the age of 14

For the anniversary of the Migratory Bird Days we would like to see pictures with many different birds! The Wadden Sea is important for many birds that need to stop and rest here during their long journey. Since these are the 10th Migratory Bird Days and this is therefore also the 10th children’s contest, we would like to receive drawings with many – perhaps 10? – different birds in the Wadden Sea.

Think about what species of birds take a break in the Wadden Sea: There are knots and brants from Sibiria, godwits from Alaska, curlews from Iceland, avocets from Sweden and many more – such as gulls, of course, that arrive from Scandinavia in the autumn.

It is up to you whether you want to use a brush or a pen, whether you would like to draw or paint, as long as we can see that many different migratory birds stop here in the Wadden Sea.

All pictures will be presented at the Bird Fair in Horumersiel (at “Haus des Gastes”) on 21 October 2018 and later on our website www.zugvogeltage.de. Therefore your picture should have a DIN A3 size in landscape format.

Please be aware that we won’t be able to return the pictures to you. They will become part of our collection of children’s drawings and used for the next Migratory Bird Days. Whoever would like to give us her/his picture as a present can either bring it to one of the national park visitor centres or send it to Nationalparkverwaltung Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer, - Zugvögel - , Virchowstraße 1, 26382 Wilhelmshaven, Germany until 17 October 2018 at the latest. Please don’t forget to put your name, age and address on the back of your picture.

Best of all: All young artists between 4 and 14 years of age, who send us a picture, will get the chance to win one of 10 great MINOX binoculars (BF 8x42)!