S-Bahn Berlin

From cranes to wild geese – bird spotting with the S-Bahn in south Berlin

Peter Ahrend

From cranes to wild geese – bird spotting with the S-Bahn in south Berlin

Collection by S-Bahn Berlin

Gliding above your head in an arrow formation, you hear their squarks as they flap their wings in unison. Migratory birds bring with them a truly autumnal feeling. You will be amazed by how they fly south and back every year without any modern navigation systems. They rely on the position of the sun, star formations, and rivers to guide them. Some birds, like the proud crane, use Berlin and its surroundings as a stopover to re-energise during their long journey. Others, such as the white-fronted geese and bean geese, are just warm enough in Berlin to use our region as a wintering ground.

These seven wonderfully different Tours take you to places where you can have a good look at these feathered travellers. Far in the south on the outskirts of Berlin in Teltow-Fläming and also nearer the city centre, you can witness these feathery spectacles. There are often helpful information boards to help you distinguish a crane from a heron and immigrant Canadian goose from a native greylag goose. Don’t forget to pack your binoculars though!

You can leave your car at home and take the Berlin S-Bahn comfortably to the edge of numerous nature reserves. A little further out, you can take a walk along the Blankensee lake with its magnificent observation tower. Hop on the train and off to the south you go!

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    Easy
    01:53
    5.64 mi
    3.0 mph
    250 ft
    125 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Well camouflaged, the gray goose hides in the bushes. The stately wild bird is the largest native species of geese and ancestor of the domestic geese. Greylag geese are absolutely communicative animals and chatter to themselves in all kinds of sounds. They are actually migratory birds, but for a few years now more and more of them have been wintering in Berlin. You have the best chance of looking at them in peace along the Tiefwerder Wiesen in Spandau.Every ten minutes the S-Bahn stops at Spandau station with lines S3 and S9. The banks of the Havel are only a few hundred meters away from the train station, so you will soon be walking along the beautiful riverside path. A few cheeky ducks keep appearing between passing barges and boats.You cross the Havel over the Schulenburg bridge and are now very close to the Tiefwerder Wiesen. From here it is worth going a little slower and more calmly, because the greylag goose is a shy representative of its species. You hike over beautiful wooden walkways through beautiful nature in the middle of the city and can stop here and there to look out for the wild birds.Once you have left the meadows behind you, you will soon be walking through relics of the Ice Age. The Murellenberg and the associated gorge shape the landscape to this day. Passing the Waldbühne, you can either complete your round at the Pichelsberg S-Bahn station or you can walk a little further to the Olympiastadion S-Bahn station.

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    Intermediate
    02:06
    5.02 mi
    2.4 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    It all started with two escaped animals from an animal owner. The pair of Canada geese found a new home at Tegeler See, brooded and provided for a population of several hundred animals in the Berlin area. Many of them have remained loyal to Lake Tegel, so that you will regularly encounter the chattering two-legged friends with white cheeks and black necks on a relaxed walk on the Greenwich promenade.The S25 line of the S-Bahn is your feeder to the Canada geese. Every 20 minutes the train stops at Tegel S-Bahn station, your starting point. From here you walk through Alt-Tegel directly to the shore of Lake Tegel. In late autumn and winter you can hear the happy chattering and croaking of the water birds from afar. Make yourself comfortable on one of the many benches and follow their hustle and bustle.Then it's always along the water, over small bridges, past jetties and beautiful sandy bays. At Reiherwerder you can, with a bit of luck, watch the eponymous bird hunting for delicious fish.You now turn into the forest to the game reserve in the Tegeler Forest. It's hairier and bristly here than on the water, because wild boars and deer are already waiting to be fed by you. The way back takes you past Berlin's oldest tree, fat Marie. It has stood proudly here for around 900 years.When you arrive at the Tegeler Hafen, the tour is almost over. Say goodbye to the happy water birds, then get on the S-Bahn home.

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  • Intermediate
    02:46
    6.59 mi
    2.4 mph
    200 ft
    200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Dozens of storks, hundreds of swans and countless wild geese visit the wonderfully natural landscape around the Blankensee south of Berlin every year. Make your way to beautiful Teltow-Fläming and find out why the area is a perfect area for numerous species of birds.Getting there is like a little adventure. At the central S-Bahn stations Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Potsdamer Platz, Südkreuz or Lichterfelde-Ost you get on the regional express RE3, which takes you to Trebbin every hour. From October 5th to December 12th you will bridge the section Ludwigsfelde to Trebbin with the RE3B bus. From here, the Kranich-Express takes you to Blankensee. You can find out how to call him here: vtf-online.de/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/pdf2019_12/R778.pdfAt the Waldfrieden stop it finally starts and you are already in the middle of nature. Your first destination is the NaturParkZentrum with its bizarre giant spiders, inviting huts and grazing sheep. You may already be able to observe the first wild birds in the pastures and fields.You climb very gently to the Fuchsberg in the Glauer Bergen and enjoy a wonderful panorama over the pine landscape below the wooden summit cross with picnic area. After the descent, you can indulge yourself in the Hofcafé Fritz with delicious cakes and fragrant bread.You have the best chance of observing our feathered friends extensively from the bird-watching tower in the Nuthe-Nieplitz nature reserve. The shimmering Blankensee is also part of it, where some cozy wooden benches invite you to linger and dream.You return with the Kranich-Express via Trebbin to Berlin, where you have access to the S-Bahn network again.

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    Easy
    01:02
    3.19 mi
    3.1 mph
    25 ft
    25 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Berlin and Brandenburg are not only a popular stopover for migratory birds on their way to the warm south. For some of them, it is cozy enough in our latitudes that they spend the winter with us. The Karow ponds in the north of Berlin are a temporary home for white-fronted geese and bean geese during the cold season.A short walk from the Karow S-Bahn station takes you directly to the beautiful nature reserve. Every 20 minutes the S2 leaves downtown Berlin and out into nature. Via Pankgrafenstraße you leave civilization behind you and after a few minutes you are in the middle of the idyllic pond landscape.Duck pond, island pond, reed pond and willow pond form the Karower pond group. At the latter you will find a narrow footbridge in the thick vegetation that will bring you to the edge of the willow pond. An ideal place for bird watching with plenty of peace. The chance of spotting a few cackling representatives of the geese is particularly high here.If you've had enough of seeing yourself, you continue to the forest pasture on the edge of the nature reserve. Fluffy cattle graze here and can be observed from a respectful distance. Now it's back home from the Karow S-Bahn station.

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    Intermediate
    03:59
    9.70 mi
    2.4 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The cormorant is a controversial guest in our realms. He is often referred to as an insatiable immigrant who is robbing the fish stocks. The proud black bird has been a native species for more than 7,000 years. So it's time to get to know it better.With the S-Bahn line S3 you get to the train station Erkner east of Berlin every 20 minutes. On the border with Brandenburg you hike along the Bretterscher Graben hiking trail over romantically winding wooden walkways into the swamp and wetland of the Gosener Wiesen.The largest nature reserve in Berlin, the Müggelspreeniederung Köpenick, is known only to a few Berliners. Here, on the Gosener meadows and along the Gosener Graben, a number of bird species feel at home, which appreciate the peace and nature of the area. On the offshore islets of the Seddinsee you will meet happy swan families, ducks sloshing on the waves and of course the cormorant. It is not uncommon to see him sitting on gnarled branches with outstretched wings and soaking up the sun.If you are inquisitive, you can learn more about the individual bird species on numerous information boards. With a bit of luck you will also discover the blue shimmering kingfisher that nests on the banks of the river.Over the idyllic Triglawbrücke on the edge of the Dämeritzsee you slowly enter civilization. From Erkner, the S-Bahn will bring you back to the urban jungle.

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    Intermediate
    02:28
    7.51 mi
    3.1 mph
    125 ft
    125 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You often hear them long before you see them strutting across the fields: we're talking about cranes. Every year the gray-feathered so-called birds of happiness take a break in the meadows and fields in the north of Berlin. Then they move further south to spend the winter in warmer climes. The adaptable animals now even breed in the moors and on the meadows around the capital, so that you can not only admire them in autumn and listen to their trumpet-like calls.Your trip to Kranichland starts at the S-Bahn station Röntgengental. The S-Bahn line S2 drops you off in northern Berlin every 20 minutes. Along narrow ditches and small ponds you hike into the nature reserve of the Lietzengrabenniederung. Numerous picnic benches beckon in open meadows and are an ideal place to keep an eye out for migratory birds and other native species.The idyllic pond landscapes are not only a preferred home for ducks, many amphibians also feel right at home here. A couple of viewing platforms offer you an even better view into the distance. It is also worth having binoculars in your backpack.If you are more of a summer hiker, then a cool drop in James beer garden is waiting for you on the way back. During the cold season, on the other hand, you are well advised to have a pot of hot tea or mulled wine to enjoy nature without shivering. Take the S-Bahn back home from Zepernick station in a warm wagon.

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    Intermediate
    02:38
    6.18 mi
    2.3 mph
    325 ft
    325 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Pack your binoculars and head to the Kranichsberg with the shimmering Flakensee on the edge of Berlin. Even if you will probably have to be satisfied with the mountain name when it comes to cranes, a magnificent view awaits you from its wooden observation tower. You will also encounter numerous wild birds on the way.With the S-Bahn line S3 it goes out to Erkner. The train stops here every 20 minutes. After you have crossed the railway tracks once, you walk over the leisurely flowing Löcknitz and turn into the forest area. Stroll along the Theodor-Fontane-Weg, which meanders along the banks of the Flakensee, in a wonderfully romantic and poetic way.Once you turn right, the path leads you towards Rüdersdorfer Heide and you climb the Kranichsberg. Now at the latest it is worthwhile to pull out the binoculars and let your gaze wander over the Müggelsee and Flakensee. You are sure to spot a few migratory birds in the distance.With new impressions in your luggage you descend to the Woltersdorfer Schleuse, where not only boats and ships ensure a hustle and bustle. Geese, swans and ducks fill the area with funny chatter. If you feel like stopping off, you will find a few good options right on the water here.On the western bank of the Flakensee, it goes back to Erkner, where your way home with the S-Bahn starts.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    43.8 mi
  • Duration
    16:51 h
  • Elevation
    1,200 ft
S-Bahn Berlin

From cranes to wild geese – bird spotting with the S-Bahn in south Berlin