Bolzano bird life

At no other time of the year is the bird life as present as in the spring, when their joyous song draws our eyes upwards.
Urban Birding experts are enthusiastic about spring. Not only is it the season when our resident feathered males put
on their displays to find their mate; it’s also the time when migratory visitors such as swallows, bluethroats and cranes
arrive, as our winter visitors, the cormorants, ducks and buzzards, slowly depart for their summer climes.

We meet the passionate ornithologist Erich Gasser in the city 
centre, on the banks of the river Talvera. Now 69 years old, Erich discovered his love for birds at the age of seven, in his grandparents' garden and with a neighbourhood bird trainer. In 1974, together with other like-minded enthusiasts, he founded the Südtiroler Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Vogelkunde und Vogelschutz – the South Tyrolean Working Group for Ornithology and Bird Protection – of which he is still an active member.
Despite the traffic and dense conurbation, Bolzano has a lush bird life. The city’s bird habitats have remained, thanks to the surrounding bushlands, mixed forest, vineyards and orchards. The fact that the three rivers that crisscross the city have not been obstructed or redirected has also been a great help. Mediterranean gulls have established themselves on the flat roofs of the town, all year round. Even black-headed gulls and black kites can be seen occasionally. In residential areas, the main species found on the buildings are swallows, swifts, jackdaws (nesting on the tower of Bolzano Cathedral) and wagtails. In our gardens and parks, on the other hand, there are all kinds of tits and finches, Italian sparrows, robins, blackbirds, nuthatches and sparrow hawks.

One group of winged residents that always 
surprises visitors is the city’s parrot colony. Yes, that’s right – wild parrots, in the Alps! If you’re lucky, around Mareccio Castle you’ll see Bolzano’s most striking bird: the Indian ringnecked parakeet (Psittacula, alexandri manillensis). The Bolzano population fluctuates around 30 birds, which have been roaming the city area since the mid-1980s, when at least two escaped from their cage. This group of parrots is today the only remaining one in the Alps and the most northern in Italy.
Urban birding and bird watching
At Lake Kaltern alone, up to 200 different species of nesting and migratory birds have been recorded. If you would like to take special walks with other birdwatchers, either in Bolzano or the surrounding area, take a look at the AVK programme booklet.

Text by Anita Rossi | Picture rights Manuela Tessaro

This is an article from the Bolzano Magazine | Spring Edition 2020, where also Eppan is represented. Further information about the South Tyrolean capital and Eppan's neighbouring city can be found here >>> Bolzano Bozen
Published on 26.05.2020
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