About the Institute

The Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach is a non-profit foundation supported by the public. It focuses on studies of wild birds and acquires the scientific basis for the conservation of birds and their habitats.


Birds draw our attention to changes in the environment. Supported by hundreds of volunteers, we monitor the populations of breeding birds, migrants and winter visitors in Switzerland.

Thanks to this work, 500'000 waterbirds find safe winter habitats on Swiss lakes and rivers every year.

Based on the data and recommendations of the Swiss Ornithological Institute, the Swiss Government designated the reserves of international and national importance for waterbirds and migrants in our country.


The Swiss Ornithological Institute investigates changes in the populations of wild birds. Our studies evaluate how birds adapt to present-day landscapes influenced by man and what they require to survive.

We study where birds forage, how widely they range and why and where they die. For this purpose, we developed and used miniature transmitters that are among the world’s smallest.

This knowledge is crucial in allowing us to take specific action in agricultural areas and in forests.


Nature is to benefit by the knowledge of the Swiss Ornithological Institute. To achieve as much as possible for the birds, we closely work together with authorities, planners, nature conservancy organisations, farmers and foresters.

In cooperation with farmers, we were able to show that they profit by a nature-friendly agriculture as do Yellowhammer, Common Quail, Common Kestrel and many other animals and plants of cultivated land. As for consumers, they receive healthy products.


We disseminate information on birds and their conservation. By means of the media, exhibitions, books, CD-ROMs and booklets we would like to arouse interest and joy but also raise awareness about problems.

Information and Advice Centre

Employees of the Swiss Ornithological Institute answer up to 100 questions daily.

Care Centre

Every year more than 1000 birds are treated by specialists at our institute.