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Bird Paradise National Park (Kuş Cenneti Milli Parkı)

The park is 20 km southwest of Bandirma on the main road to Bandirma.

Just inland from Bandirma is Lake Kuş Gölü (Bird Lake) where there is a 64-acre bird sanctuary near Sığırcık on the northeast shore. More than 250 species pass through here annually, including varieties of pelicans and flamingoes. Fed by by four streams as well as underground springs, it is a shallow, freshawater lake. Spring and autumn bring the migrations; weekends bring visitors to disturb the nesting birds. There is a viewing tower and small museum of stuffed specimens.

Cornucopia 9

Birds in Paradise

By Alice Carswell (1966–2001)

If we could fly over the Göksu Delta like the cranes and geese that wing their way between food and roost, we would be struck by the sweep of lakes, rushes and reeds in this dusty and rocky corner of Turkey, near the Mediterranean town of Silifke. The jarring proximity of a monstrous paper mill and sprawling holiday developments further belies the existence of a wetland idyll that is a sanctuary for birds. Known locally as kuş cenneti (bird paradise), the Göksu Delta boasts the longest avian checklist of any site in Turkey. One of the few places in Europe where the Purple Gallinule, Smyna Kingfisher and Imperial Eagle can be seen, it has become a mecca for bird-watchers.

The Göksu Delta is a mosaic of habitats lying along the last few kilometres of the majestic Göksu river. Rising in the heart of the Toros Mountains, the river has over the centuries repeatedly rearranged its meeting place with the sea, slowly shaping the landscape. More recently, man has coaxed the waters into chennels and ditches which fan out between the tamed parts of the delta. The whole – lakes, salt-steppes, dunes and fields – provides an environment of contrasts which is ideal for some 300 species.

Cornucopia 9 (1995/96) for the five-page feature including a full glossary of the birds of the Göksu Delta

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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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