Ruissalo is full of birds in winter
On winter days, the island’s bird feeding spots are surrounded by a flurry of activity, with blue, great and coal tits, greenfinches, European goldfinches, blackbirds and, with any luck, nuthatches, all trying to fill their bellies. In the island’s deciduous forests, you can hear the drumming of woodpeckers and spot tawny owls dozing off in the holes of old English oaks. The most common winter raptors are northern goshawks, sparrowhawks and white-tailed eagles, which can often be seen circling above the island.
As long as the sea remains unfrozen, the waters off the shores of Ruissalo are frequented by mute swans, common goldeneyes, goosanders and other waterfowl. The list is only further expanded by occasionally overwintering species, such as the chaffinch, and roaming winter flocks of, for example, waxwings, which visit the island especially when the berry harvest is good.
Ruissalo is used as a wintering site by an exceptionally large variety of bird species, and the numbers of certain species can rise very high in winter. The reasons behind this abundance of winter birds include the island’s southern location, diverse habitats, the closeness of the sea and myriad feeding spots. Winter bird censuses have been carried out on Ruissalo since the 1950s. Thanks to the long time series produced by the regular censuses and active bird-watching, the island’s winter birds are very well-known.