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Because of its abundant birdlife, the South Funen Archipelago has been designated as an international bird protection area in accordance with both the EU’s Birds Directive and the Ramsar convention.


As of 1 September 1996, the South Funen Archipelago was designated as a game preserve by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy, which means that in some areas hunting is forbidden and access is restricted in areas where birds search for food or breed.
This places Denmark under a particular obligation to protect this habitat area and to protect the area’s birdlife.


The precise location of the bird sanctuaries, vulnerable habitat areas and areas with many resting, moulting and wintering birds is indicated on the Archipelago Map.


Bird sanctuaries

Some areas of the Archipelago are bird breeding sanctuaries where access is prohibited during the breeding season, typically 1 March – 15 July.


List of sanctuaries:

  • Revet, Lyø
  • Monnet, Tåsinge
  • Northern tip of Hjelmshoved
  • The entire islands of Græsholm, Bredholm and Grensholm
  • Storeholm, Ristinge Hale
  • In other words, breeding birds must not be disturbed during this period on these islands, islets and reefs, nor may visitors come closer than within 50 metres of these areas during this same period.

Vulnerable habitat areas

Other areas of the Archipelago are particularly vulnerable habitat areas where you are kindly requested to avoid all movement during the bird breeding season, i.e. 1 March – 15 July.


Vulnerable habitat areas:

  • Det Nye Land, Lyø
  • Odden/Holmene, Bjørnø
  • Halen, Helnæs
  • Three areas of Illum
  • Drejet, Horneland
  • Avernakhoved, Avernakø
  • Between Store Svelmø and Lille Svelmø
  • Revtrille, Avernakø
  • Mejlhoved, Drejø
  • Revet, Skarø
  • Odden and the west part of Hjortø
  • Store Egholm and Lille Egholm
  • Ærø: Dejrø, Lilleø, Ommelshoved, Langholm
  • Vogterholm, northern Strynø Kalv
  • Southern Siø
  • Lindelse Nor (islet).

Breeding birds

In spring, the islands and islets are crowded with many breeding birds. Many of them, such as terns, breed in dense populated colonies and build their nests directly on the ground. Nests, eggs and fledglings are impossible to see, and if you go ashore, you will frighten off the adult birds.
They will be afraid to get close to the nest as long as strangers are present and if the spring weather is cool, the fledgling birds risk dying of cold. In a hot spring, the fledglings risk dying of heat and thirst. Airborne seagulls pose another risk if they spot the nests of fledglings, as this may cause many of them to be eaten.


The common eider lays all-green eggs while the greylag goose lays all-white eggs. Both birds nest in tall grass and are sometimes difficult to see from a distance. If ducks or geese fly away from the nest, it is a good idea to cover the eggs with down or grass. This is because gulls will immediately see the exposed eggs from the air and attack right away. Rest assured, however, the parent birds will find their nest again.

Some of the breeding birds lay eggs as early as March, while others take care of fledglings until well into July, after which the fledglings can take care of themselves. For this reason, the period from 1 March – 15 July is an exceedingly vulnerable period of time for the breeding birds.


Resting birds

The rest of the year, many thousands of birds winter or moult in the Archipelago. You must be very respectful and keep your distance to disturb them as little as possible.
These areas are marked on the Archipelago Map as grey zones, meaning:


Always sail around the birds and enjoy them from a distance!

                   Photo - Poul Henrik Harritz

Havterne med unger
             Signs with this picture means:
                      Vulnable habitat   

          Photo - Hans Erik Hjorth-Hansen