The Faroese Bird Migration Atlas

Our Faroese Bird Migration Atlas is now officially released. The event was celebrated at a reception in Tórshavn on Oct 9 where a full lecture hall containing almost 100 people attended the presentation. At this time of the year, the islands are almost devoid of birds but we finished off duly with a yellow-browed warbler in the city cemetery.

Færø-atlas-præsentationThe atlas provides status for ringing at the Faroes 1912-2009 with accounts of 90 species based on 100.000 ringings and 5.100 recoveries. In all, the result of a unique collaboration among scientists, volunteers and the public, made possible by a generous grant from Aage V Jensen Naturfond!

First author, Sjurdur Hammer, presented the Atlas and Kasper Thorup talked about the perspectives of ringing and bird conservation research in the Faroes.

A few insights gained from the Atlas work:

  1. Faroese storm petrels and arctic terns explore southern African waters in winter, 10-11,000 kilometers each way
  2. Puffins hatched in the Faroes largely return to their natal hatching site to breed with only limited exchange among colonies
  3. Fulmars foraging in Faroese waters apparently return to specific waters year after year
  4. Several species stay close to the Faroe Islands all year round, including shag, eider, common snipe, black guillemot, rock dove, wren, raven, house sparrow and probably starling.
  5. Many Faroese guillemots migrate northeast to the Norwegian coast in autumn to winter with some continuing further south in the North Sea and Skagerrak
  6. Assessment of origins of the seabirds in Faroese waters so that the effects of oil spills can be better assessed
  7. Faroese kittiwakes travel to waters off Greenland and Newfoundland outside the breeding season and those staying in Faroese waters in winter include birds from breeding colonies in Britain, Norway, Russia, Iceland and Canada
  8. Turnstones visiting the Faroes during migration include breeders from northeastern Canada
  9. Willow warblers visiting the Faroes in autumn are far off course but can get back on track on their migration to Africa – two bird ringed in the Faroes were found a few days later in Shetland and Sussex, England
  10. The great tit is a vagrant to the Faroes; it may come from as far away as Denmark, 1,250 km from the Faroe Islands
  11. Robin migration in the Faroes peak in late April in the spring and in late October the autumn


After the presentation of the Atlas we went to Svinø and Fuglø to scout for potential places for working with migrants. A few impressions from this:

The migrant trap at Svinø from the plateau at 450 m. Fuglø is behind the hill
The migrant trap at Svinø from the plateau at 450 m. Fuglø is behind the hill







The Svinø migrant trap from the chopter
The Svinø migrant trap from the chopter



The natural juniper plateau on Svinø looking west

The natural juniper plateau on Svinø looking west

1 thought on “The Faroese Bird Migration Atlas

  1. Sounds like a succes! Looking forward to the celebrate it in Copenhagen at Zoological Museum on the 27th at 3pm!!

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