Earth : Europe : Turkey : Marmara (region) : Southern Marmara
Bird Paradise National Park
Bird Paradise National Park (Kuş Cenneti Milli Parkı) is one of the earliest national parks of Turkey, surrounding Lake Kuş (Turkish: Kuş Gölü, lit. “bird lake”). It’s an important stop-over and final destination for migratory birds, which migrate to warmer places south in winter. There are 239 species inhabiting the area during summer, totalling about 3,000,000 individual birds, although whole area is only 64 hectares, tiny in world standards. What makes the area so popular with the birds is its ecosystem: at the end of winter, with the level rise of the water of the lake (which is related to the rising streams, which in turn are related with the dissolving of snowcover up in the mountains), a small willow grove and reed beds at the northwest of the lake submerge underwater, making it a perfect area to nest, and for the youngs to hatch and grow.
Bird Paradise National Park has been awarded with Class A European Diploma by the European Council for four times since 1976, because of its effective and successful protection of the wildlife.
Detailed information about the birds, and the park in general, is provided in the museum and the administrative building inside the park. The best months for bird watching are between March and July, and September and October, roughly corresponding to the migration period of the birds. There is a watchtower that commands a wide area for viewing. Scientific research in the park requires permission from the park directorate.
Southern Marmara occupies a long shoreline which is the southern coast of the Sea of Marmara, Marmara Islands off the coast, and some places more inland. It’s bordered by Eastern Marmara to northeast and east, Central Anatolia to southeast, Northern Aegean to south, and Eastern Thrace to northwest and north, across the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles Strait. In addition to the Marmara coast, the region also has a shore on the Aegean Sea to the west.
In ancient times, eastern two-thirds of Southern Marmara, roughly between Bursa and Balıkesir was known as Mysia, while the western one-third, a peninsula today better known as Biga Yarımadası in Turkish, between Dardanelles, Aegean Sea, and the Gulf of Edremit, was known as Troad, i.e. "the plains behind Troy".
The highway D200 (which is assigned the European route number E90), starting from Çanakkale and then passing by the regional centres of Bandırma and Bursa, and then leaving the region towards east is the backbone of transportation in the region.