Birdwatching, known as “looking at nature through the world of birds” by those who are interested in wildlife observation, is attracting the attention of a growing population. It is especially famous in the ecotourism spots of Turkey. Our country is the permanent home to 465 kinds of birds, which is equal to the total number in Europe. Therefore, Turkey has great potential for birdwatchers.
Of course, it is not easy to watch the birds, as they are the most active and free creatures in nature. Because it is hard to get close to the birds, binoculars or camera systems are used for observing them. In the open areas designated for birdwatching, observations in the form of taking photos or video are carried out. Moreover, telescopes are set up in some of the observation areas to support the scientists working in this field and notebooks are filled with a catalog of observations.
Important Bird Areas Project – IBA
Birdwatching throughout the world was officially initiated in 1989 with the establishment of the International Council for Bird Preservation. The rules of bird watching and the appointment of natural areas are determined by this council. The main purpose of this observation sport is to protect birds and support biodiversity in nature. The book Important Bird Areas was published in 1997 by the council and the studies were transformed into projects. In our country, the Society for the Protection of Nature operates in order to determine the IBAs that started to appear after the 1990s. We hereby include the highlights of birdwatching areas determined by the activities of this association.
The Gediz delta lies along 20,400 square meters of beach and is very suitable for birdwatching. The Karşıyaka, Menemen, and Foça districts located in İzmir are included in the coverage area. Rare populations among the bird species such as the Pelican, Flamingo, Avocet, Lesser Kestrel, Stone Curlew, Vanellus Spinous, Mediterranean Seagull, and Caspian Terns are found. In the winter, Dalmatian Pelican, Waterfowl, and Cormorant also come to this region.
Akdağ is located between Afyonkarahisar and Denizli; it is a very large basin covering Çivril, Kızılören, Sandıklı districts. In the region located on the Greater Menderes basin plateau, protected areas were formed. It is a rare region where you can find raptor species such as the Black Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Bearded Vulture, and Small Eagle.
Another observation area between Afyonkarahisar and Denizli is Acıgöl. This region is also extremely rich in terms of habitats and has many observation areas. Flamingo colony is found in Acıgöl, which is suitable for wildlife photography.
Other population types in Acıgöl include the Avocet, Kentish Plover, and Gull-billed Terns.
Lake Eğirdir is located in Isparta basin and is a preferred attraction for vacationers due to its fresh cool water. Around the lake are rare species of birds such as the Pygmy Cormorant, Hungarian Duck, Pochard, Tufted Duck, and Wild Goose.
Kızılcahamam forests, which have the potential of health tourism with thermal facilities, are located in Ankara. In the birdwatching area, which is partially under protection, there are different varieties such as the Black Stork, Bearded Vulture, Griffon Vulture, and Black Vulture. Kızılcahamam is the breeding ground of the little eagle, and you can camp there to observe the birds and enjoy nature.
Meriç Basin exhibits very rich flora and ample natural beauty. It is located in the province of Edirne, in a protected area where coast lagoons and freshwater lakes provide a beautiful setting for camping and observing. Among the birds you will see there are Little Bittern, Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Whooper Swan, and Pochard.
Uludağ, which is generally known for winter tourism, offers a very convenient opportunity for birdwatching in Bursa. Raptor species such as the Bearded Vulture and Rock Eagle have been found in the region, and the region’s bird population is increasing day by day.
You can also enjoy birdwatching in Muğla, which is one of the tourism cities of the Aegean. The Gökova district has a very rich natural habitat where you can observe different species such as the Golden Oriole, Ardeidae, Partridge, Nighthawk, Grackle, Blackbird, Jaybird, and Wild Duck.