Fukuoka City is known as Kyushu’s core urban area, but it might come as a surprise to know that it’s also a paradise for wild birds. In fact, it’s one of the best places in the country to observe wild birds. Birdathon competitions are now held to see who can spot the most species of wild birds in one day, and it’s not unusual for this total to exceed 100 in Fukuoka. That’s well known to the people whose hobby is bird watching, and people from all over the country flock to Fukuoka for birding.
The natural environment is the reason for the large number of birds here. Within the compact city limits, the altitude ranges from sea level at the bay to mountains of 1000 meters. There are also plains, and many ponds and rivers. This diverse environment ensures the presence of many bird species. In addition, Fukuoka is close to the Asian continent, and it lies on the route of migratory birds. That means different birds can be seen in different seasons.
For example, the crested honey buzzard of the hawk family is seen throughout the Aburayama area in the fall, and it isn’t unusual to see several thousand in flight. More birds can be seen here than on any other place in the Japanese archipelago, apart from the outlying islands. Several thousand marine birds come to the Shikanoshima area in the winter. In early spring, the narcissus flycatcher and many other birds arrive to spend the summer in Japan. Among them are birds that are infrequently observed.
Forest City Aburayama has specialists to offer bird watching pointers that make it fun for beginners. There are a wealth of locations for observing marine birds, including Wajiro Higata, a nationally designated wildlife protection area, and Island City, where a wild bird park is under construction. And many of these wild birds can be seen in back yards and nearby parks. Why not plan a bird-watching trip and discover for yourself one of the wonders of nature in the middle of the city?
Originally published Oct. 2012.