A few years ago I started noticing birds and now the city is full of nature. Birds are everywhere, including in the city, if you just look and listen a little more closely. Here are a few of the birds you can see in Paris.
Two of my favorites are the tiniest and busiest. The European robin and the wren. The European robin is the one you see on greeting cards all over the place, he is an artist’s favorite with his bright orange-red face and neck. When you see him you’ll recognize him right away by his color and shape – he looks like he just ate a ping pong ball – just that size and nicely round. The Wren is even smaller, multi-shades of brown has a stubby turned up tail. The wren makes a noise bigger than most bigger birds. Once you learn their song (listen here) you’ll start hearing wrens everywhere.
Another big talker is the Magpie. This bird is a little smaller than a crow, has a long thin tail and is iridescent black and white. When the sunlight glints off his back the black plumage shows a spectrum of blues and greens that suddenly turn this bird, that seemed so ordinary, into a beauty. The magpie has a whole vocabulary of sounds from cheeps to squawks that make him fun to listen to. Sometimes I swear he is conversing with me.
Your local Paris parks will have sparrows, wood pigeons (in addition to regular pigeons) and tits. Look and listen a little more and you’ll notices the wrens and European robins plus many others. In the Bois de Boulogne and Vincennes around the ponds you’ll see many water birds such as grebes, swans, cormorants, herons, coots, moor hens and of course ducks. Keep an eye and an ear out for the wonderful kingfisher too. The more forested areas of the Bois have several kinds of woodpeckers, jays, warblers and nuthatches. Swooping between buildings might be a peregrine falcon. Or perched like a gargoyle could be a kestrel.
This bird watcher maps some of his favorite spots for seeing birds in Paris. In addition to his list you might visit the Cité Universitaire campus. There are so many more species and places I have not mentioned, but if you look at this gallery you can see one photographer’s lovely photo collection of birds in Paris. Really there are birds everywhere, if you just are aware you can enjoy a bit of nature’s wonder each day in the urban jungle.
PS: An attractive picture and reference book just came out in French. Les plus beaux oiseaux de France de Marc Duquet, Editions Delachaux et Niestlé. Each of the selected birds features a map, large photo, watercolor, description and the author’s suggestion for you to appreciate the particular species.
Here is a Speak Easy to help you learn the bird’s names in both English and French
Did you know that there is a book of Speak Easy puzzles like this one? In fact FUSAC has published three volumes of Speak Easy Puzzle books. Find out more here.