Ground Nesting Birds
Like all new families, birds need peace and quiet when they have nests. When you disturb the birds, it's all too easy to scare them away from their nests, eggs and chicks. This can mean that the eggs don't hatch or the chicks don't get food. Or predators can easily and undisturbed empty the nest.
Breeding areas: The most important areas are the beaches, dunes and salt marshes, but they can be found in all open landscapes. So - "watch out for Fido and your feet".
Breeding season: From March to June inclusive.
When millions of migratory birds visit the Wadden Sea every spring and autumn, it's to fatten up for their journey south or north. For many birds, it's a matter of at least doubling their weight in the few weeks they're here. Every disturbance means less fat, and therefore less energy - vital energy - and that means less chance of survival, whether they move on or stay.
Migration period: March to May and August to October.
Wintering and Moulting
Birds molt every year - some as their feathers wear out, others all at once. When it happens all at once, the birds are unable to fly. This makes them extra vulnerable to disturbance and predators. It's obvious when it's moulting season. During this period, you'll find huge amounts of feathers on beaches and salt marshes. During the cold months and especially when we have icy winters, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, for birds to find food.
Wintering: From November to March.
Seals often look cute and relaxed. They relax after a long day "at work", just like us humans. They relax on beaches and high seas and don't like to be disturbed any more than we do. Therefore, always keep a safe distance from seals when they are relaxing. If they start to raise their heads or flippers or move towards the water, it's a clear sign that you're too close to them. Simply back away quietly and calmly.
Seal pups are cute and adorable to watch, and their cries are heartbreaking. But the biggest danger when they're howling is usually us. Without meaning to, you may unintentionally scare away their mum, who may even abandon the pup and head out to sea. This can mean that the pup only gets one of two daily meals. You should therefore keep a safe distance from seal pups. This is the best way to ensure its survival.
Harbour seals: (smaller, round-headed seals) breed in June through August.
Grey seals: (Large seals with a cone-shaped snout) breed from November through January. The grey seal breeds only rarely in the Danish part of the Wadden Sea.
Animals are good at letting you know when you're disturbing them - but their signals can be hard to decipher if you're not used to them. Pay close attention to their behaviour and respect when they ask you to stay away.
Photo: Lars Gejl, Tandrup Naturfilm and Martina Scheffler