On the lookout for wild animals

Thy National Park has many beautiful, interesting and most importantly wild animals in its vast, natural landscapes. With some knowledge and a little luck you can see them on the trips around the national park. You will have the best chances of seeing these animals if you bring binoculars and a map.

Animals you can see in Thy National Park

Crane: It is only natural that this stately bird is part of the national park logo, because Thy National Park is the breeding ground for the largest population of cranes in Denmark. This bird typically arrives at the breeding area in Thy in late March. From April the crane begins its dance and trumpets loudly across the open landscape.

Characteristics: The crane is a very big bird (110-120 cm tall) with an impressive wing span (180-240 cm). It flies with its legs trailed backwards, forming a straight line from its neck. It has a grey plumage, while the top of the neck and head is black with red and white patterns.

See the crane here: The bird tower at Aalvand, the view at Saarup, on fields and meadows in west Thy.

Red deer: There are many of Denmark's largest terrestrial mammals in the national park. All the way from Hanstholm Nature Reserve in the north to Lodbjerg in the south, the heaths and plantations have a large population of red deer. In the autumn, you can hear the stags roar and see them fight over the hinds. Outside the breeding season, the hinds form large herds and move together impressively through the landscape.

Characteristics: The stags are two metres long and weigh about 180 kg at their heaviest. The hinds are somewhat smaller. The area around their tail (the escutcheon) is red-yellow on the red deer, while it is white on the roe.

See the stag here: Saarup, Isbjerg, Lodbjerg Lighthouse

White-tailed eagle: Northern Europe's largest bird of prey can be seen all year round in the national park. Here it hunts for water birds and fish, and finds carrion on the heaths along the coast.

Characteristics: Its enormous wing span (200-240 cm) has given the white-tailed eagle the nick-name "the flying door". It has a grey-brown body with a slightly paler neck and head. Its wing tips are dark and they end in visible "fingers". It has a white tail.

See the white-tailed eagle here: Agger Tange and the bird tower at Nors Lake are two good places to see hunting white-tailed eagles.

Common seal: The smallest and most common Danish seal thrives in the coastal areas. The seals value the sand banks in Krik Vig inlet, where they can dry in the sun or rest after hunting for fish.

Characteristics: The common seal differs from the larger grey seal by having a tiny, pointed nose with oval nostrils. It usually grows to 1.3-1.6 m long and can weigh up to 130 kg.

See the common seal here: From the roof of Svaneholmhus information house you can almost always see the low sand banks where the seals rest in Krik Vig. Occasionally you can see the seals hunt around the seabreaks along the coast.

Adder: This small venomous snake likes dunes, heaths and nutrient-poor bogs. So it is not strange that the adder is relatively common in many places in Thy National Park.

Characteristics: The adder has a black zigzag line along its back. This line may be difficult to see, as the adder itself can be brown or black. However, it is easy to distinguish the adder from the grass snake because it does not have yellow spots on its neck.

See the adder here: You will find the adder on heaths and dunes in most of the national park. It likes to bathe in the sun on south-facing slopes with low vegetation.

Good places to spot animals in the national park

Isbjerg: Here you can see birds, red deer and roe deer. The path up to Isbjerg runs along the plantation. Here is a good view of Nors Lake and the dune heath, and large birds of prey often hover overhead. Both red deer and roe deer are numerous in this area, and there are visible traces after their activities.

Svaneholmhus: Here you can see seals and birds. All of Agger Tange is a unique breeding area for many birds, and many migratory birds pass the winter or rest on the salt meadows and lagoons of the isthmus.

The bird tower south of Nors Lake: Birds of prey and otters. It was also here a wolf was photographed for the first time in many years.

Bird tower north of Aalvand: cranes, red deer and birds of prey.

The cliff at Saarup: red deer, cranes and migratory birds

Lodbjerg lighthouse: red deer, nightjar and migratory birds.