Bird monitoring and ringing

Variations in the abundance and distribution of bird populations are studied with monitoring focusing on the different seasons of the year. Bird monitoring and ringing provide society with the key information needed to protect various species.

Bird monitoring produces data for the needs of research. The collection of such data is almost entirely based on the contributions of volunteer bird watchers. Monitoring projects often play an important role in conservation decisions.

Bird ringing

Ringing is a tool in bird migration research: it provides information on the migratory routes of various species, the rest and overwintering areas they use and their migration speeds. In addition, ringing provides information on, for example, the age, mortality and causes of death of birds, hatching site, site and mate fidelity, annual population changes, the lifetime offspring yield of individuals and the heritability of different characteristics, flock social hierarchy, and the size and exploitation of an individual bird's environment.

Participation in monitoring

Anyone who knows birds well enough and is able to follow instructions can participate in bird monitoring. Monitoring requirement levels vary and are presented in conjunction with various monitoring methods.

The winter bird census is repeated by travelling through the census route one to three times each winter. The distribution and abundance of winter birds are examined based on the results.

  • Winter bird census routes and their results can be viewed on the website. 

Participants in the feeding location monitoring monitor the feeders in their respective feeding sites and record observations throughout the winter. 

  • Any bird feeder who knows the most common winter birds and mammals can participate in the feeding location monitoring.
  • The data is submitted to Lintuvaara’s Lintulauta system. 

The waterfowl census is performed twice during the spring. This provides information on the abundance variations of waterfowl settling to nest. Conducting a waterfowl census is easy and is suitable for anyone who knows waterfowl species.

  • Existing reserved and vacant census locations are available on the website

Information about a found bird’s nest is recorded in a nest record. Indicate how many eggs or chicks you observed in the nest!

  • Nest records are used for gathering information on the timing of bird nesting, brood size and nesting success in different habitats, different parts of the country and different nesting sites.
  • The information is submitted to the Lintuvaara website. 

Line transect census is a method to get a quick and representative overview of nesting birds in the area. The census should take place in the early morning in June, the best time for birdsong. The census is performed along a transect approximately six kilometres long. The network of line transects covers all of Finland at intervals of 25 kilometres.

Point census is a lighter form of monitoring, where birds are monitored for five minutes at 20 self-selected points. You can move between points on foot, by bike or car.


Raptor monitoring

Raptor monitoring is a long-term study aimed at monitoring hawks and owls and compiling data on annual nesting results and nesting sites. Raptor ringers collect this data in conjunction with nest inspections.

Raptor monitoring began in 1982. Long-term data on the population development of hawks and owls play a key role in assessing the endangerment of species and the need for conservation. Data collected shows that the populations of many of our raptors are currently in decline. Raptors are important indicators of the state of our environment. Because raptors are at the top of food chains and demanding with regard to their nesting locations, changes in the environment are quickly reflected in their populations.

Results of raptor monitoring are published annually in BirdLife Finland’s Linnut yearbook.

Raptor monitoring forms for ringers

Osprey monitoring

Osprey monitoring collects data on nesting locations and annual nesting results. Osprey ringers and nest inspectors annually inspect approximately 2,000 osprey nests. The aim is to inspect all nests fit for nesting. Results of osprey monitoring are published every other year in BirdLife Finland’s Linnut yearbook.

Monitoring service of satellite-tracked birds

Osprey monitoring forms for ringers

Satellite tracking and other positioning studies

Satellite transmitters and other modern positioning devices provide detailed information on the migratory paths, wintering areas, hunting grounds and territory size of individual birds. Luomus participates in many bird positioning studies.

Breeding Bird Atlas of Finland

A Breeding Bird Atlas of Finland examining the distribution of the Finnish breeding birds has been compiled three times: 1974–79, 1986–89 and 2006–2010.

The fourth Breeding Bird Atlas of Finland will be realised in the period 2022–2025: for more information, follow the link.

Join us!

If you are interested in participating, please contact bird monitoring at

Postal address
Bird monitoring
Finnish Museum of Natural History Luomus
PO Box 17 (Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 13)
00014 University of Helsinkio