Batumi, located along the eastern Black Sea coast in Georgia, is Eurasia's largest bottleneck for autumn raptor migration. The unique topography of the region and the autumn climate create the ideal conditions for viewing this spectacular movement, which ranks as the third largest in the world. Over a 60 day period, more than one million raptors migrate through the area. Peak counts surpass 100,000 raptors in a single day, and an average day in September sees 20,000 birds of prey flying by. It’s not only about the huge numbers of European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite and Steppe Buzzard, though, as 35 different species of birds of prey have been recorded, as well as Black and White Storks, Common Crane and European Roller.
The birding season in Adjara officially starts on 16 August and ends on 16 October. There are two dedicated raptor watchpoints in Adjara, which are located in the villages of Sakhalvasho and Chaisubani-Shuamta. You can also observe the mass migration of birds from the peatlands of Ispani, the Chorokhi river delta and the Mtirala and Kolkheti national parks. The total number of species counted for the bottleneck is 235 currently.
Batumi Birdwatching Festival is one of the most memorable and interesting festivals held in Adjara annually. The festival takes place in early September, when the air temperature has not significantly decreased, nature has not changed its colors, and the mass migration of birds has already begun and leaves an unforgettable impression. There are active birding locations in the region from which all birders can watch the spectacle, as well as participate in the research work of Georgian and international ornithologists and learn about the diversity of migratory species. The festival has been taking place since 2012 and attracts both amateurs and scientists from various countries of the world.
Guests who intend to spend an extended time watching migratory birds can linger in Adjara for a few more days and stay in comfortable guesthouses near the birding watchpoints. By staying in village family hostels, you contribute directly to the community-based conservation programme, and can arrange your time independently or join regular day trips to the area around Batumi. If you prefer more comfort, various quality hotels are nearby, and an increasing number of tour operators run trips to the area.
The festival is organized by the Tourism Product Development Agency of the Department of Tourism and Resorts of Adjara. The idea of holding such a festival belongs to the International Environmental Protection Organization BRC (Batumi Raptor Count). BRC annually publishes a report, which indicates the types and number of migratory birds in a season. According to data from the last festival, in September-October 2019, 1138915 migratory birds of prey were recorded, which is a very large indicator:
Autumn Count 2019
So far counted:
1 138 915 raptors