Turkey’s favorite wetland for migrating birds

Its unique position between Europe and Asia makes Turkey a favorite destination for migratory birds that winter in Africa before heading to Europe for the summer. The wetlands of the eastern Mediterranean region of the country are today haunts for flocks of birds where they rest and regain strength before their long flight to Europe.

Tens of thousands of birds of different species migrate to Africa from Europe in the fall, traveling above the Turkish skies, before returning home in the spring, using the same route. The wetlands of Hatay and Adana, two southern provinces, serve as a stopover and gateway for migrating birds from Africa.

The country is now home to more than 400 species of migratory birds, making it a unique place for birdwatchers. Turgut Çangır, head of the seventh region of the Directorate of Nature Protection and National Parks, which covers Adana and Hatay, says wetlands are abundant in the region and are favored by migratory birds, targeting the Yumurtalık and Akyatan lagoons in Adana as the top locations for them. To the north, Sultan Sazlığı in the central province of Kayseri is also home to migratory birds. Cangır told the Anadolu Agency (AA) that although the birds use the wetlands as stopovers on their way home, some prefer to make it through the year if the seasonal temperatures and habitat are good enough for their migration-free survival. . He said a census carried out in January and February found more than 400,000 birds, the majority of them Eurasian coots living in the Adana and Kayseri wetlands. Çangır says their conservation work was essential for the birds to stay longer, especially efforts against illegal hunting.

Ali Atahan, who runs a Hatay-based birding company, says the province is an important stopover for birds and so far they have counted 379 different species in the province. “Hatay is the second place for bird watching in Turkey due to the high number of different species that live there. We now have a new destination for birds at Reyhanlı Dam. When he started to take water, other birds arrived. Since last year, we have found 180 different species living near the dam, ”he said.

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