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Birdwatching in Comacchio: where to do it, when and which species can be sighted

With its 54 thousand hectares divided among nine different municipalities, the Po Delta is one of the largest naturalistic areas in Italy and interesting in terms of biodiversity. Inside the area, in fact, landscapes alternate from the residual dunes of the coastline to the freshwater valleys and brackish lagoons, up to the pine forests if you move further inland: inevitably, flora and fauna change considerably in each of these passages. The area has thus become, over time, a favorite destination for nature lovers and for those who intend their vacations first and foremost as an opportunity to get away from the noise, pollution, and the hustle and bustle of the city, ending up being an unmissable stop for bird and ornithology enthusiasts who go birdwatching in Comacchio and other locations such as Boscoforte and Bosco della Mesola.
Birdwatching, very popular as a pastime abroad and for some years now increasingly appreciated in Italy as well, consists in observing birds while they are in their natural habitat and undisturbed. In our country, contrary to what you might imagine, there are many areas where you can do bird watching, especially during the migration season: from the Stelvio National Park in Trentino Alto Adige to the Margherita di Savoia saltworks in Puglia, passing through the Circeo National Park in Lazio. What these areas have in common is that they are uncontaminated (or almost), not very urbanized and far from human activities that disturb the life of the birds. The Po Delta area adds to this the fact that it is a very humid area and the ideal habitat, for this reason, of a large number of bird species: according to the numbers, there are at least 35 thousand birds that nest in the area every year and over 55 thousand birds that come here to winter. It is easy to explain why birdwatchers often choose to go birdwatching in Comacchio and in the surrounding areas: because here, compared to elsewhere, the probability of sighting birds is higher, even if you are not a beginner.

What kind of birds can be seen while birdwatching in Comacchio?

One of the information on which the real experts of birdwatching choose their destinations and where to go for bird watching is, after all, just how many and what kind of bird species are present in the place. Also in this sense the Po Delta is interesting: it has been estimated that the park hosts at least three hundred different bird species. It is not easy to make a list of them, especially because moving from one place to another, as we have already mentioned, the typical fauna changes significantly: the Oasis of Val Campotto, in the province of Ferrara, is known, for example, for hosting one of the largest colonies of cormorants, while the nearby Sacca di Goro is frequented mainly by waders, so much so that it is also known as the island of the limos. More generally, in this area it is possible to see birds, even "rare" ones, such as the great crested grebe, the little grebe, the roseate gull, the coralline and the woodcock, the sea partridge, the mallards and the pochards. Also passing through the area, especially during migration periods, are four-eyed godwits, Turkish fistions, glossy ibis, and spoonbills, as well as birds of prey that nest here, such as marsh harriers and hen harriers.
In most cases, however, those who come to birdwatch in Comacchio, especially if not a true fan of the subject, are attracted by the presence of pink flamingos. Here, as in several other areas of Italy, these birds have settled since the early nineties without, in fact, ever completely abandoning the area except for short migrations, so that today you can see pink flamingos in the Valleys of Comacchio practically all year round and also very close to the most urbanized areas. Even though with its bright pink plumage and its classic balancing position it is the most spectacular, pink flamingos are not the only species that can be spotted while birdwatching in Comacchio: in spring, in the valleys and salt marshes of the area, spoonbills, black-winged stilts, oystercatchers, common terns, plovers, little terns and seagulls nest. In winter, it is easier to see the black-tailed godwit, the pantana, the redshank, the piping plover, the sandpiper, the four-eyed godwit, the lesser scallop, and the marsh owl.

When and how to do birdwatching in Comacchio and surrounding areas

What has just been said also answers, at least in part, the question of when to go birdwatching in Comacchio? All year round and without fear of bad surprises: it is not by chance that those who organize birdwatching tours in the area organize them all year round, with the sole exception of the coldest months. Of course there are periods in which it is easier to observe the birds even without having to stand around for hours and hours: they are the spring months starting from March and the autumn ones, in particular October, during which the birds are generally engaged in great migrations or nesting. Birdwatching experts also suggest two moments of the day when, more than in others, it is easy to observe the bird species: the early morning hours and at dusk, when they leave their nests to go in search of food.
To get information about the area and about the typical behaviors of the bird species living there is, in short, the only guarantee to be able to observe the birds in the Po Delta, as well as the golden rule of birdwatching wherever you do it. For this reason, there are those who recommend, especially to beginners, to be accompanied by a guide in birdwatching sessions, for their own safety and for that of the animals: they know the best places from which to observe birds "in captivity" without disturbing them and, almost always, they can provide the visitor with a series of information and didactic notions about the world of birds. In the area, as we have already mentioned, there are many organized tours and also some proposals for birdwatching boat trips in Comacchio. For those who want to do it on their own, it is important to prepare themselves for birdwatching by bringing a map of the area in order to be able to move around more easily, a guide of the bird species in order to recognize them immediately and read some more interesting facts about the birds they have seen and, above all, binoculars in order to be able to see them better. The two diktats of birdwatching are, in fact, not to get too close to the birds and not to feed them in any way.
Only if done in safety, after all, birdwatching is not only a pastime but a real panacea for the body and the mind as it allows to relax getting back in touch with nature.


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