The Attraction of Northern Hokkaido



The birds which travel so far,
and the birds which live in the harsh conditions,
all come to northern Hokkaido.
They rest in the bounty of nature,
raise new life,
and then travel home.
Their lives mirror you own,
as they try their best to survive.

Great White-fronted Goose

Tens of thousands of Great White-fronted goose fly across the sky together.

The Great White-fronted Goose seen in Japan goes to Siberia to breed in the summer months, and then migrates south to the Izunuma marsh in the Miyagi prefecture when it turns cold. The Miyajimanuma marsh in the city of Bibai sees around sixty thousand Great White-fronted Geese during its peak period, making it both the largest and northernmost stopover point in Ja-pan. In early May when the birds make their way to Siberia, and then in late September during migration to the south from Siberia are the best times to view the birds, with the Great White-fronted Goose moving together early in the morning as they “leave the roost", and then flocking back together in the evening as they "come home to roost" being the highlights.

Steller's sea eagle

Japan’s largest birds of prey which hark the coming of winter.

Steller's sea eagle only lives in the northernmost regions, and are the largest birds of prey seen in Japan. They travel to the Kamchatka peninsula, down-stream from the Amur River to northern Sakhalin to breed, and then go to Hokkaido to pass the winter. They can be seen leisurely flying across the sky with their beautifully contrasting black and white wings or resting their wings within the silver-white snow. Steller's sea eagle has an undeniable presence. Many birdwatchers flock to Hokkaido to see the Steller's sea eagle as they come home to hibernate within the expanse of nature.

The Horn-billed Puffin

A powerful scene at the world’s greatest breeding ground.

Island is the biggest breeding ground in the world for the Horn-billed Puffin and sees roughly forty thousand pairs of birds. Teuri. They are a seabird and thus they live by the ocean, but in spring they flock to Teuri Island to breed. They make their nests by digging holes over a meter deep in the land atop cliffs. It is there where they spend the next three months, from May when the chicks are born to July when they leave the nest. The parent birds work from before dawn, gathering large amounts of food in their beaks and return home to their nests as the sun goes down. Large numbers of the Horn-billed Puffin flying across the sky is a sight to behold.

Tundra Swans

Come the see a “Happy Ring”.

Tundra Swans migrate to Japan to pass the winter, and although there are both Whooper Swans and Tundra Swans, it is primarily the Tundra Swans which come to northern Japan. They can be seen at the Onuma marsh in Wakkanai City and Lake Kuccharo in the town of Hamatonbetsu, which is known as biggest stopover point for Tundra Swans in Japan. In the spring you can see a courtship pose called a "Happy Ring", which is when two Tun-dra Swans put their beaks together in the shape of a heart to strengthen their bonds. It is said that those who witness a happy ring shall themselves find happiness.