Teuri Island floats 27km out from Haboro, Hokkaido in the Sea of Japan. People live along the eastern side, facing the main island of Hokkaido, and from March to August the 100m high cliffs on the western coastline play host to 1 million sea birds of 8 varieties. Teuri Island, a miraculous island where 300 people and 1 million birds share a mere 12 square kilometers of land. This island was inhabited by native tribes from the Satsumon period, and the first Japanese settlers came in the early Edo period. People came to live here because of the bounties it holds: the plentiful seafood, creatures like sea birds and seals, and the fruits of the hills such as wild herbs and more. And since long before people came to live here, the sea birds have used Teuri Island as a special place to bring new life to the world.
Human, Bird, Plant, Insect, and more…
Teuri Island is a place of life, truly a Tiny World of its own.
Teuri Island is home to sea birds that draw bird watchers from all over the world: the spectacled guillemot, with its delightful red feet. They only live in Hokkaido and the Okhotsk coast. And Teuri Island is the easiest place in the world to see them. There are a large number of nests near Akaiwa Observatory, and the birds are best seen in the morning. And if you join a sea bird nesting cliffs tour, your chances will increase immensely.
The appeal of spectacled guillemots lies in their lively courtship behavior. Mating pairs will face each other on the water or cliff face and make resounding calls, earning them the names “Canaries of the Sea.” When they do so, you can see the pure red of their mouths. You can see this sight, and other sea birds, from the mini-boat Keimafuri-Go, which offers sea bird observation tours from the water twice a day in the morning.
Spectacled Guillemots flap their wings the same whether they’re flying through the air or swimming underwater. This ability to “fly” in sea and in air is possible because of the exquisite balance of their body structure. The sight of our world-leading 400,000 breeding pairs of rhinoceros auklets returning to roost with the setting sun is one that will pull you fully into the world of wild birds. Most overnight visitors need a night guide to see the rhinoceros auklets coming home.