Paris Birding

Mute swans
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Birding is one of my big hobbies, so of course I’m going to try to see and appreciate as many birds as possible while I travel. The collections were inside a park called the “Jardin des Plantes”. Most Paris gardens are extremely manicured, which means not much habitat to provide for a high diversity of birds. The Jardin falls into that category with the exception of one area of conifer forest on a hill which has been allowed to grow almost as it will and a gated area which one can take a bird tour through on certain days and times that seem to be completely random (I was never able to go on one).

Wood Pigeons are everywhere here. They’re city birds along with the Rock Pigeons which are an invasive species in the States (but native here).

Wood Pigeons are quite round

Wood Pigeons are quite round

Another common city bird is the Common Blackbird. They aren’t related to our blackbirds; they’re related to our robins….which in turn are not related to Eurasian Robins…bird names are confusing…

Female Common Blackbird. The males are all black with yellow beaks and eye rings.

Female Common Blackbird. The males are all black with yellow beaks and eye rings.

I liked to eat lunch on one of the benches outside. The first day I bought a crepe that I couldn’t eat all of. I ended up tossing bits to the sparrows and pigeons walking around. Then the Carrion Crows showed up and I only fed them after them because corvids are my favorite birds. They’re highly intelligent and have wonderfully mischievous senses of humor. There was a pair of them and they would catch food out of the air like dogs catching a frisbees, which was quite fun to watch. Sometimes they’d just position themselves beneath it; other times they’d jump and catch it. They ate some of it, but would frequently wait until they had a mouthful to take it to their nearby fledgling. It finally hopped over and tried to catch stuff itself, but the parents kept jumping in front of it to catch food themselves.

Carrion Crows are awesome.

Carrion Crows are awesome.

Rose-ringed Parakeets are feral in Paris and breed in the Jardin now. They were abnormally quiet when I saw them. Also extremely well-camouflaged against the leaves of their favorite tree.

Rose-ringed Parakeet nomming away

Rose-ringed Parakeet nomming away

On my way home one day, I ran into a group of French birders looking up into a conifer. They told me there was a female Sparrowhawk with two chicks. The chicks were starting to get their adult feathers in.

It's at that awkward stage of life...

It’s at that awkward stage of life…

One day it will be as gorgeous as its mother

One day it will be as regal as its mother

Some sort of big, gorgeous flowering plant in the garden

Some sort of big, beautiful flowering plant in the garden

I also went to a huge park outside the main part of the city which is allowed to grow wild–Bois de Boulogne. If you’re in Paris and interested in birding, you should definitely spend a morning or even a whole day there.

Song Thrush

A very cooperative Song Thrush

Another one that just hopped up on a stick ten feet away and posed for me

Another one that just hopped up on a stick ten feet away and posed for me

I randomly spied this fella while trying to photograph a Blackcap

I randomly spied this snail while trying to photograph a Blackcap

Common Chaffinch

Male Common Chaffinch eating a berry

Common Moorhen

Common Moorhen

Eurasian Coot adult and juvenile

Eurasian Coot adult and juvenile

Baby Eurasian Coots hanging out beneath a low-hanging branch

Baby Eurasian Coots hanging out beneath a low-hanging branch

Oh that was unfortunate timing...

Oh that was unfortunate timing…

Birding in the middle of a big city in summer is never going to be extremely fruitful in terms of number of species, but when you’ve never been to an area before, you’ll still get plenty of lifers (that’s what birders call species they haven’t seen before). And it certainly helps to head to big parks.

My final Paris list is as follows (lifers indicated by a *):

  1. Rock Dove
  2. Eurasian Collared Dove
  3. *Wood Pigeon
  4. *Common Blackbird
  5. *Carrion Crow
  6. *Common Kestrel
  7. Eurasian Magpie
  8. *Common Swift
  9. European Starling
  10. House Sparrow
  11. *European Goldfinch
  12. *Yellow-legged Gull
  13. *Eurasian Wren
  14. *Rose-ringed Parakeet
  15. *Blue Tit
  16. *Great Tit
  17. *Sparrowhawk
  18. *Eurasian Jay
  19. *Blackcap
  20. *Common Moorhen
  21. *Song Thrush
  22. *Marsh Tit
  23. *Willow Warbler
  24. *Eurasian Robin
  25. *Common Chaffinch
  26. *Garden Warbler
  27. *Eurasian Bullfinch
  28. *European Redstart
  29. *Pied Flycatcher
  30. *Black-headed Gull
  31. *Great Spotted Woodpecker
  32. Mute Swan
  33. Mallard
  34. *Eurasian Coot
  35. *Grey-headed Woodpecker
  36. *Common Buzzard
  37. swallow sp. (I didn’t get a close look and there were three species it could have been)
  38. passerine sp. (I only got a split second look before it flew away. It may have been a Stonechat, but I’m not sure, so I won’t be including it on my life list.)

Which means I ended up getting 29 lifers out of Paris. Not bad. 🙂

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