8th Migratory Bird Days in the Wadden Sea National Park of Lower Saxony

08th – 16th of October 2016

The Wadden Sea is an important stopover area for birds on the East Atlantic Flyway. Millions of migratory birds stop and gather energy in the Wadden Sea in spring on their journey to the Arctic breeding grounds and in autumn on their way to the wintering areas in the South. The international importance of this area for migratory birds was one major reason for the UNESCO to designate the Wadden Sea as a World Heritage Site.

The Migratory Bird Days are an annually event and offer a unique chance to get information on migratory birds and on how to protect them. It is about experiencing the importance of the Wadden Sea for international bird migration and make you being fascinated by this natural phenomena. This year the 8th Migratory Bird Days take place from the 8th to the 16th of October and host more than 250 events in the National Park Lower Saxony along the coast of the North Sea and on the East Frisian Islands.


The programme encompasses activities for everyone who is interested in wildlife and birds. There is something for everyone to get excited about such as bird walks or cycle tours, the Bird Fair or the drawing campaign for children, art exhibitions, concerts or culinary specialties from countries along the East Atlantic Flyway.

Below you find an excerpt of the programme as well as further information about the drawing campaign for children. Each listed event will be accompanied by an English speaking guide. If you have any questions regarding the activities below or if you would like to find out about further events in that specific area, please contact the named organizers. For general information on the Migratory Bird Days please contact the Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park Authority: , phone +49-4421-911-0.

Activities on the Islands

Island Norderney

Walking tour with Keentied and Co.
Date: Monday, October 10, 02:00 to 03:30 pm; Wednesday, October 12, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Organizer: National Park-House Watt Welten
Meeting Location: entrance of the hospital  
Fee: free, donation desired
Target group: adults and children above the age of 7
The number of participants is limited. A registration is required under 0049 4932 2001. This walking tour is also suitable for people with a minor impaired mobility.
Equipment needed: waterproofs and if available binoculars
Norderney’s beach is not only popular among summer visitors but also birds appreciate it a lot. One migratory bird, the sanderling, can only be seen here at the edge of the water. It is running cleverly before and behind the waves. This is the reason why the sanderling is called 'Keentied' in Low German. A few of them prefer searching for food in the drift line, others favour the natural vegetation along the spur dykes. During this walk we will especially focus on the sanderlings which are usually overseen when going for a walk.

Island Langeoog

Cycle tour for early birds with gourmet-breakfast afterwards at Haus Dünenlust
Date: Wednesday, October 12
Time: 07:15 am – 09:15 am
Organizer: Haus Dünenlust (Partner of the National Park)
Meeting Location: Meet at the Deichschart
Fee: adults: 20,- € (incl. breakfast), teenagers under the age of 16: 16,- € (incl. breakfast), participants not attending breakfast: adults: 10,- €, teenagers: 8,- €
Equipment needed: bicycle, solid walking shoes and if available binoculars
Registration required, tickets can be bought at the tourist information or at Haus Dünenlust, max. 15 participants

This early cycle tour combined with small footwalks along meadows and dunes will show you that it was definitely worth to get up that early during your vacation: Especially in the early hours you will still meet birds which usually migrate only during night time but look out for the island to rest in the morning. Dr. Kai Pagenkopf knows the best bird watching spots on the island and knows a lot to tell about the species you will see as well as about the East-Atlantic Flyway. Afterwards, a rich breakfast at Haus Dünenlust consisting of fair trade-coffee, East Frisian tea, delicious natural food products and home-made marmalade as well as home-baked brown-bread is awaiting you.

„Do kum jou heel dicht do bie“ – Bird watching tour at the South mole, especially for physically handicapped people
Date: Wednesday, October 12
Time: 02:45 pm – 04:15 pm
Organizer: Joke Pouliart (National Park Guide)
Meeting Location: harbour of Langeoog, in front of the ferry terminal
Fee: adults: 8,- €, children: 4,- €, families (2+2): 21,- €
Equipment needed: waterproofs
Especially suitable for physically handicapped people or for families who need their pram. The length of the tour is ca. 600m, without any differences in altitude. Audio support can be offered by early registration under 0049 173 9978231 or
Take the train at 2:30 pm from the village to Langeoog harbour. We will meet there at 2:45 pm to start our bird watching tour. From the dike „Flinthörn“ you will have a great view on the salt marshes, the wild natural landscape as well as on the tidal flats. Here and later you will be able to see avocets, waders and gulls which search for shellfish, crabs, shrimps and worms.
Around 4:30 pm we will take the train back into the village. If you want to visit a tea-room or restaurant you can also take one of the later trains or even walk back into the village on your own.    

Activities on the Mainland

East Frisia

Bird observatory at the Pilsum lighthouse
Date: daily, from October 8 to October 13 
Time: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm
Organizer: Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park Authority, Ornithological Association of East Frisia, National Park House Greetsiel
Location: Pilsum Lighthouse
Fee: free
Equipment needed: binoculars if available
The upper floor of the lighthouse is only accessible via a spiral staircase
The Pilsum lighthouse is not only the landmark of the municipality but also stands at an international important resting place for migratory birds – the Leybucht.  During the 8th Migratory Bird Days the upper floor of the lighthouse turns into a bird observatory. Experts from the National Park Authority and the Ornithological Association provide you with optic and tell you more about the different species, the National Park and the Leybucht.

Experience the importance of the World Natural Heritage for migratory birds from the edge of the mudflats
Date: Monday, October 10, 05:00 - 06:30 pm and Thursday, October 13, 09:00 - 10:30 am
Organizer: National Park House Dornumersiel
Meeting Location: National Park House
Fee: adults: 6,- €, children under the age of 15: 4,- €
Equipment needed: binoculars, camera and solid walking shoes
Registration required until October 9 at the National Park House under 0049 4933 914254 or 0049 172 4318580. This walk is not suitable for physically handicapped people.
Just before high tide we walk to the edge of the mudflats. With the incoming water the outer feeding grounds for the birds become constantly smaller so that they come closer and closer before they go to their high-tide roosting places. This gives us the great chance to watch flocks of waders flying in. You will find out more about the different species, their life style and their destination. But also the drift line itself and our findings there, such as feathers, shells and a lot more will give you a clue about the Wadden Sea’s history.

Jade Bay

Boat trip with the MV “Harle Kurier”: Searching for what migratory birds feed on in the Wadden Sea
Date: Saturday, October 08, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm; Sunday, October 09, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm and Wednesday, October 12, 03:00 pm to 04:30 pm
Organizer: UNESCO-World Heritage Visitor Centre Wilhemshaven
Meeting Location: Helgolandkai, Wilhelmshaven
Fee: adults 14,- €, children 12,- €, families 32,- €
Registration required under 0049 4421 910733 or
Equipment needed:
waterproofs and if available binoculars
During this boat trip, which includes a net haul, you will find out more about what the birds eat. Experts form the Visitor Centre will explain the different feeding strategies migratory birds have, give hints about bird identification and under the dissecting scopes in the swimming laboratory you can see the different animals migratory birds feed on. Furthermore they will give you a lot of interesting insights about the Jade bay and its animals.

Bird observatory at the mudflats in Varel
Date: Saturday, October 08 to Sunday, October 16
Time: daily open, experts present from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm
Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park Authority
Location: harbour in Varel (harbour exit North side)
Fee: free
Equipment needed: waterproofs, binoculars and solid walking shoes
The observatory is especially constructed for the duration of the Migratory Bird Days. It is directly placed at the mudflats of the harbour in Varel and provides you with a great view over the bay Jade. It also gives you a wonderful chance to watch migratory birds close up in the foreshore and on the mudflats. Experts are daily present and provide you not only with binoculars and spotting scopes but also with information about the different species, their migration pattern, the National Park and the bay Jade. During the 7th Migratory Bird Days 79 species were watched just here. Maybe we will be able to exceed this number this year. Just come along and take your chance.

Bird Fair
Date: Sunday, October 16
Time: 10:00 am - 06:00 pm
Organizer: Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park Authority, National Park House Wangerland, Tourist Information Wangerland, Scientific Working-Group for Nature Conservation (WAU) 
Location: Horumersiel
Fee: free
The Migratory Birdfair is the closing event of the 8th Migratory Bird Days. It is a colourful festival accompanied by music, talks, games, lots of fun, delicious food and a variety of information on avian research and on the protection of birds. You will also find bird and nature related items, many different optic dealers as well as birding wear and gear.
Come along and enjoy the supporting programme or take part in a boat trip. Every guest has also the chance to win a valuable prize at our free raffle. You also shouldn’t miss the exhibition of all pictures from this year’s children’s drawing campaign. Ten MINOX-binoculars will be raffled live among all children who have participated. Or you can find out about the area (region and island) in which most bird species have been seen during the 8th Migratory Bird Days and which has won the so-called "Aviathlon".  

Further details about the birdfair will be available in September.


Migratory Birds on the island of Neuwerk – day trip to the Wadden Sea National Park of Hamburg
Saturday, October 08
Time: 11:00 am
Organizer: Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre Cuxhaven, Society Jordsand, National Park House Neuwerk
Meeting Location: Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre Cuxhaven
Duration: day trip
Transportation: returning with the ship to Cuxhaven at 06:00 pm, arriving Cuxhaven (Alte Liebe) at ca. 07:30 pm, from there bus back to Sahlenburg (ca. 08:00 pm back in Sahlenburg)
Fee: 48,- €, children under the age of 10: 30,- €, teenager (10 to 14 years): 40,- € (all fees include the ticket for the horse carriage, ship and bus) 
Target group: adults and families; children should be able to cope with a three hour walk
Registration required until October 5 under 0049 4721 5905610 or .
Equipment needed
: waterproofs, binoculars and solid walking shoes
Please bring your own lunch box and if available binoculars. Tea and coffee will be provided at the National Park House Neuwerk. The tour is subject to wind and weather conditions and not suitable for physically handicapped people.
Neuwerk is the only populated island in the Wadden Sea National Park of Hamburg. It is an important resting place for birds which search for food in the surrounding mudflats and an important landmark for migrating singing birds. Our experts from the World Heritage Centre and from the Society Jordsand will lead the tour and show you the island’s best high-tide roosting sites and bird watching spots. You will also have the chance to visit the National Park House on Neuwerk.

Drawing campaign for children under the age of 15
What do migratory birds feed on in the Wadden Sea?

The Wadden Sea is a land of plenty for millions of migratory birds which come here to rest and gain weight. When they have eaten enough, they have the energy to continue their long journey to the breeding grounds or overwintering areas. Some birds prefer worms, others crabs or shells, some catch even fish or eat only greens.

We would like you to draw or paint us a picture which shows what birds in the Wadden Sea are feeding on.

Your artwork should have the size of DIN A3 in landscape format. It is completely up to you whether you want use a brush or a pen. All pictures will be presented at the Bird Fair on the 16th of October and put later on our website www.zugvogeltage.de.
Please be aware that we won’t send you your picture back. It will become part of our collection of pictures and will be used at the next Migratory Bird Days. In return for your contribution you get the chance to win one of 10 great MINOX-binoculars (BF 8x42).
Everyone who would like to give us his picture as a present can either bring it to one of the National Park Houses or send it to Nationalparkverwaltung Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer, - Zugvögel - , Virchowstr. 1, 26382 Wilhelmshaven until October 12, 2016 at the latest.
Please don’t forget to put your name, age and address on the back of your picture.