Birds watching YOU

Sterna birds around Vík south Iceland ©Þórir N. Kjartansson
Sterna birds around Vík south Iceland ©Þórir N. Kjartansson

I have always been fascinated with flight and observing birds effortlessly glide through the skies, has held my mind and attention everywhere I go. The freedom and pure beauty of a bird in flight is something that I will never get tired of watching. However, it was interesting to read somewhere recently that birds’ strongest senses are their sight and hearing and because humans are also created to perceive the world around them by the means of sound and sight, we can value the multitude of sounds and appreciate the mesmerizing distinctions in shape and colour on display by the many avian species.

Which explains why birdwatching is such a popular activity, enjoyed by many people in every country around the world. South Iceland is no exception. Both locals and visitors flock here (pun intended) all-year-round to observe the many different species of birds, from the legendary puffins to the pink-footed geese, great skuas, various ducks, goldeneyes, arctic terns and many more.

Vik i Myrdal, one of my favourite places in this part of Iceland, is the home of many varieties of birds. I have been flying over the beautiful beaches and mountains for hundreds of hours over the past few years and have unintentionally become quite the “accidental birdwatcher”.

But the more I watch them – white-tailed eagles, grey herons, puffins and many others – the more I can’t stop thinking that they watch us as much as we watch them. How fascinating we humans must be for the birds. Walking around, on our two legs, constantly being busy with strange “ground-based” activities, moving around in funny metal boxes and spending considerable amounts of time in even bigger boxes made of hard materials. Quite the show to watch for birds flying high above us every day. 

And I can just about imagine what must be going in their heads as they soar in they skies high above the ground:

Hmm, these two-legged creatures who usually mind their own business on the hills, beaches or meadows below us are actually starting to fly as well. Only a few, but recently more and more of them doing it, and sometimes in pairs. Would you believe it?

If you are gliding in the skies above South Iceland you will certainly get the chance to observe the many species of birds around you. And if you are lucky, you will also get to be seen and given the once-over by them too. It’s enormous fun, trust me!

Photos by

Þórir Kjartansson Photographer