Advantages for ornithological tourism in Galicia

Of all the types of tourism in our country, the one that focuses on bird watching continues to be the great unknown. Contrary to what happens in other European and American countries as United Kingdom, Belgium or the United States, in Spain the bird tourism is usually supplemented with other cultural or sporting activities. The latter means that the desire to observe the movements of such animals is usually not the main factor when deciding on a vacation destination, but it usually takes the form of a residual activity within a larger plan. Despite this, and due in part to the increase of public awareness about the effects of air pollution on animal species, the number of people who decide to travel to natural areas in order to deepen their knowledge about their habits and habitats is growing.


Why choose ornithological tourism

This type of green travel began to emerge parallel to the birth of a new category of protection in the early nineties: the Special Protection Areas for Birds (SPAs). The main purpose of this European recognition, included in the Natura 2000 network – an ecological network created for biodiversity conservation within the European Union–, it is to protect those animal species beyond the borders existing on the old continent, specially those birds who are in danger of extinction and, more especially, those that circulate around Europe but do not belong to a particular country. Such protection is relevant for the proper conservation of their life for rest, feeding and reproduction.

The fact of traveling to a specific destination in order to spot the movements of a particular animal species in their natural habitat is an experience that helps keep enriching contact with the ecosystem around us. In particular birds are characterized by large differences between species, so that each visitor can choose his whereabouts by type of bird that he/she prefers watching: hibernating, resident, water or land species. Ornithological tourism can be practiced both by people who have some previous knowledge in ornithology and by travelers who are curious to delve into this area. In either case, it is interesting to have a specialized guide who can provide additional information and hard data about a particular population of birds.


Protected areas in Galicia

The natural wealth of our country is known leftovers, especially for those tourists with a penchant for destinations with a wide range of outdoor activities. And it is that Galicia is among two biogeographic regions, the Euro-Siberian and the Mediterranean, that has a great orographic diversity and a wide range of animal and plant species. With these conditions, it is not surprising that Galicia is a benchmark when it comes to eco-tourism.

The Galician coast houses in its aquatic environments over a hundred birds like the heron and mallard and the inside has reservoirs, wetlands, meadows, forests, canyons and river valleys in which species such as ducks, eagles and vultures can be found. This variety, together with its strategic position in the western part of the European continent and to the Atlantic Ocean, makes our country a privileged space in sighting of migratory birds. To do this, there are specially equipped areas that seek not interfere with the proper development of animal life. Specifically, Galicia has 61 designated areas for watching birds, 14 of them recognized as SPAs, among which we will mention the highlights of each province.

In the province of A Coruña, we find the area of Valdoviño, which include birds such as the peregrine falcon cliff or jackdaw, and sea birds like the European storm petrels. Further south, in Pontevedra, if there is a particularly attractive observatory by the beautiful enclave where lies, that’s the Maritime-Terrestrial Park of the Cies Islands. There, you can find a total of 45 species among which the herring gull and the common murre. In the province of Ourense, is the Serra do Xurés, a space in which they live raptor species highly endangered, such as the golden eagle and the eagle owl. Meanwhile, Lugo, and more specifically the coastal wetland of Ribadeo, declared Site of Community Importance, is home to a diverse birds like the curlew or the pintail.