Kirr Island, a paradise for nature lovers and ornithologists, is one of the few remaining salt grass islands in Germany. Many species of wading birds and waterfowl need such a salt marsh as a breeding ground. As a resting place, the island is used every year in autumn by several thousand cranes. With its shallow water areas, the Kirr offers ideal conditions for the resting of the cranes.
The Great Kirr is part in the Darß-Zingster Bodden chain and is located south of the Baltic resort Zingst in the Barther Bodden. With a length of about 3.5 km and a maximum width of 1.5 km, the bird sanctuary island is the most important bird breeding area in the region. The island is barely one meter above sea level and is regularly flooded at high tide.
The Kirr is separated from the Zingst peninsula by the Zingst Stream. Until the middle of the 20th century, the island as it exists today was still divided into two islands - "Großer Kirr" and "Kleiner Kirr".
With its extensive salt marshes and widely branched tidal creeks, the island is a unique feature of the coastal landscape and is one of the largest and most important bird breeding areas in the region. About 75% of the native marsh and water birds breed on the salt marshes of the Kirr. In the fall months, the island serves as an important resting place for cranes, northern geese, various swans and ducks.
Located in the core zone of the National Park of Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft, the island is under strict nature protection and is not freely accessible to everyone. Due to the great importance for bird protection, entering the island is only allowed with official permission. Between April and October there are weekly guided tours to the island. However, for a longer stay on the island, there is the possibility to stay overnight in a small cottage settlement.
To prevent the island from silting up, up to 300 cattle are brought to the island during the summer months. The cattle are brought to and from the island by ferry.