As of: September 26, 2023 3:45 p.m
Tens of thousands of cranes are currently taking a break in the north and northeast of Germany on their way south. A selection of locations where the impressive birds can be easily observed.
More than 13,000 cranes were counted in the Western Pomerania Lagoon Landscape National Park last week alone. The characteristic calls of cranes can be heard in many places in northern Germany in autumn. Every year, up to 150,000 of the majestic birds rest around the Bodden, in the Müritz National Park and on the Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania before flying south. The animals can also be easily observed in some regions of Lower Saxony, for example near Diepholz.
Cranes recharge their batteries to fly south
In the evening hours the cranes fly to their sleeping places.
The animals come from Scandinavia as well as the Baltics and Belarus; their numbers fluctuate annually depending on breeding success and resting conditions. There are around 11,000 breeding pairs native to Germany. A NABU website provides information about the animals’ migration and current events. A fascinating natural spectacle is the flight of cranes every evening from their search for food to their sleeping places. Then sometimes hundreds of animals can be seen in flight and their piercing calls can be heard from far away.
During the day, the birds eat up energy reserves for their long onward flight in harvested corn and grain fields. Because it is still a long way to their wintering areas. They are located in France, Spain and North Africa.
Follow the rules: Watch cranes carefully
If you want to observe the shy animals at their resting places, you should be careful not to disturb them. Every time they escape, the birds use up energy that they urgently need for their onward flight. Loud noises, bright clothing and flashing lights unsettle the cranes and can scare them away. The NABU has put together some rules of conduct for crane observation on a website.
Guided tours and boat trips
In many places there are also guided tours to the cranes’ resting places. Nature lovers can observe the animals on the Müritz with a so-called crane ticket (adults: 19 euros, children aged 8-15 years 9 euros), which is available either online or from the National Park Service in Federow. It includes a four-kilometer evening hike to the rest areas in the national park.
Watching cranes near Zingst
Other good observation opportunities are on the Zingst peninsula. During the season, rangers from Crane Protection Germany provide information about the birds’ arrival every evening at the so-called crane information mobile. The infomobile is located on the southwestern outskirts of Zingst, directly at a supervised viewing platform. From there you can observe the crane roosting places on the offshore island of Kirr.
The crane resting place at Pramort in the Sundische Wiesen near Zingst is also an ideal observation point. In order not to disturb the animals, access is severely restricted until the beginning of November. The National Park Card, which is required to watch the cranes fly in the evening, can be booked at the Zingst Kurhaus and online. It costs 7.50 euros for adults and children aged 12 and over and secures a place in one of the observation huts at Pramort.
Boat trips and excursions
The birds can be easily observed from the “Kranorama” observation platform.
Evening boat trips to the cranes’ sleeping places also depart from Prerow, Zingst, Barth and Schaprode on Rügen, among others. The NABU center in Groß Mohrdorf, northwest of Stralsund, offers detailed information and excursions to the cranes.
The center includes a wooden observation station, the “Kranorama” on Lake Günzer (open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until October 25th). It also offers a live broadcast of the cranes from the field to a large screen. For children there is a special holiday program about the “Birds of Happiness” from October 1st to 17th on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. This nickname originally comes from Sweden and refers to the fact that in spring sun, warmth and light return to the country with the cranes.
Where cranes rest in northern Germany
You can also observe cranes on your own in other regions of northern Germany. For example at Schaalsee, at Galenbecker See east of Neubrandenburg, in the Lewitz and in the Mecklenburg Switzerland Nature Park.
In Lower Saxony, the birds prefer to rest in the Tister Bauernmoor near Sittensen in the Rotenburg (Wümme) district and in the Diepholzer Moor lowland, for example at the Rehdener Geestmoor near Diepholz. There you can see the animals particularly well from observation towers. In Schleswig-Holstein they can be observed, among other things, in the Hohwachter Bay, and in Hamburg in the Duvenstedter Brook.
Here you can watch cranes
Müritz National Park
Excursions with the crane ticket
daily until the end of October, meeting point: Federow National Park information point
Tickets online and at the tourist information center in Waren, duration: three hours
NABU-Crane Center Groß Mohrdorf
various excursions to the sleeping and feeding areas
Mid-September to the end of October, starting at the information center
from Zingst: 12.9.-24.10. every Tue-Sat, alternating two to four hour tours
from Schaprode: 19.9.-17.10. every Tuesday
from Breege: 14.9.-21.10. every Thursday and Saturday
Large crane tour (4 hours) along the Sundish meadows (with film screening):
until 28.10. daily 4 p.m. from Zingst
Crane and bird watching tour Prerow – Strom – Bülten (2-3 hours):
daily until October 28th. from Prerow
Prices and further information on the shipping company’s website
Free observation without a guide
Observation towers and points as well as photo huts are located in the following areas, among others:
– Pramort/Ostzingst on the Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula (only with national park card)
– Observation tower on the lagoon southwest of Zingst
– Observation platform near Bresewitz
– near Bisdorf/Groß Mohrdorf near the crane center
– Tankow on Ummanz before Rügen
– in the Lewitzer Fischteichen (Mecklenburg)
– in Flemendorf am Barther Bodden
– Kranorama at Lake Günzer (Western Pomerania)
– Zarrentin am Schaalsee
– “Kranichkieker” near Neuenkirchen near Zarrentin
– on Lake Galenbeck (Mecklenburg Lake District)
– near Sittensen in the Tister Bauernmoor
– near Diepholz on the Rehdener Geestmoor
Map: On the trail of the cranes
In October and November thousands of birds rest in the Diepholz moorland. On the road with Susanne Hoffmann. 4 mins
They stop here on the way to Sweden. You can get very close to them in the Groß Mohrdorf information center. 3 mins
Geese, sea eagles, wading birds: In spring, many birds rest on the North and Baltic Seas. A good time to watch them. more
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Northern Tour: Experience the North | May 14, 2023 | 6:00 p.m