The Birds of Zagreb and Surroundings
The feathered inhabitants of Zagreb and its surroundings are much more varied and interesting than you might have expected. Of course, in the inner city most often you will see the ubiquitous sparrows, pigeons and crows. But you don't have to venture far to engage in birdwatching and get to know these animals better, thanks to numerous city parks and the Sava River with its lakes and backwaters. For the birds, clean environment and preserved deciduous forests are the main precondition for a happy life in a city. This is why many of them found a permanent or temporary home in Maksimir Park, on the lakes of Bundek and Jarun, or on Medvednica Mountain, including some protected and endangered species. For example, Maksimir has one of the largest populations of the middle spotted woodpecker in the whole world. Watch out for the European bee-eater, common kingfisher, goldfinch, common chaffinch, eagle-owl or black stork, to mention just a few from the really long list of Zagreb's birds. Many Charadriiformes can be found in the unique ornithological observatory on Savica Lakes, where almost 160 bird species have been spotted. You can learn more about Zagreb's birds at guided birdwatching tours and workshops, organized on request and depending on the season by organizations like the Croatian Wildlife Research and Conservation Society and Biom.
In Zagreb surroundings, when we leave the city limits and enter the pristine nature of the countryside, the abundance of birds and their habitats becomes even more impressive. There are several protected ornithological reserves like Crna Mlaka (private property closed to public), Jastrebarski lugovi, Zaprešić-Sava and Strmec-Sava. Combined with a nearby hiking or cycling trail, they can be a special part of your day trip itinerary. Forests, wetlands and riverside areas of the Zagreb County are home to various bird species, including grey heron, tern, Eurasian hobby, common sandpiper, Eurasian hoopoe, nightingale, barred warbler and plenty of others. Among rare and endangered birds, the European penduline tit nests along the Sava River, while the white-tailed eagle, an elusive raptor, dwells in Crna Mlaka. Birdwatching is a special niche in tourism, sustainable and educational, a recreational activity that raises the environmental protection awareness.