A variety of habitats has developed on the stony and gravelly island of Jurmo. These habitats harbour many different species of plants and animals. Jurmo is also located on the outskirts of the archipelago, which makes it a suitable resting place for migrating birds during spring and autumn. Therefore, Jurmo is an excellent birdwatching location for both beginners and experienced enthusiasts.
One way to become familiar with different birds is to ponder about their lifestyles. The shape a of a bird’s peak tells a great deal about how it acquires its food.
How many different peaks can you spot?
Pecker and bender
A wading birds peak is good for pecking and bending. Eurasian oystercatcher uses its peak to dig mussels from the soil and to bend open their shells. The legs of an Eurasian oystercatcher are bright red and it’s scientific name Haematopus ostralegus means ”blood-legged oyster picker”. Can you find suitable food for a Eurasian oystercatcher from the soil on the shoreline?
Arctic tern has a sharp, but strong and streamlined peak that comes handy when it dives after fish in the sea. In Finland arctic terns nest both in the outer archipelago and in the waters of Lapland. Arctic terns make the longest migrating journey of the animal kingdom, they migrate all the way to the waters Antarctica during Finnish winter. Try to catch a fish from water like an arctic tern!
Common eider has a strong peak that is suitable for munching blue mussels. It can dive as deep as 20 meters while it’s looking for blue mussels. Common eiders often nest around human settlements because it provides shelter from white-tailed eagles, big gulls and minks. Try to find five blue mussel shells from the shore.
The boathouses in Jurmo serve as nesting places for barn swallows and house martins. Can you separate the two species? Swallows fly with their peaks open ja catch the insects that come across them. It takes quite a lot of circling around before they have their stomachs full. You can run around the beach with your mouth open and see if you can catch something!
A white-tailed eagle could not be a vegetarian even if it wanted to, because it has a strong hooked peak that is perfect for tearing meat. White-tailed eagles have the longest wings out of all the birds in Finland. At best the distance between the ends of their wings can be even 2,5 meters. Spread your arms apart and measure your own ”wing span”. It is approximately the same as your length.
Tufted duck has a handsome backcombed hairstyle and a peak that is suitable for filtering and grazing. Its peak is a little wide and not very strong and is good for sifting titbits from the water and chewing plants. Take some water into a glass bottle and see if there is anything that would be caught by a sieve peak.
You can recognize a wheatear by its bandit mask. It has a small and sharp peak that it uses to snap insects. Other bird that also has a forceps peak is white wagtail, which in Italy is known as ”ballerina bianca”. In English it means white ballerina and its swinging movement does indeed resemble dancing. Have you tried eating with chopsticks? You can try to catch insect from the air with sticks.
Did you know, that a male common eider is known in Swedish as ”guding” and in Finnish as ”kalkas”? A female common eider is known as ”åda” in Swedish.
Can you find one or more stone rings?