Birds of France, Photo Essay

Some of the birds I saw and photographed at la Plaine de Sorques (near Fontainebleau), from the west observation platform along the pond:

A Great Spotted Woodpecker,


Mute Swans,


A Dunnock eating seeds,


A beautiful blue Common Kingfisher,


Stay tuned for more photos from my trip to France and Germany!

Call for Photos — “Backyard Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide”

Myrna Pearman, manager and biologist at the Ellis Bird Farm (EBF) in southern Alberta, is updating EBF’s now out-of-print Winter Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide. The revised book, to be called Backyard Bird Feeding: An Alberta Guide, will cover the feeding of wild birds through all seasons for the province of Alberta.

Myrna is looking for photographs of the following species to include in the book:


Clark’s Nutcracker
Baltimore Oriole (male and female)
Varied Thrush
Wild Turkey
Gray Catbird
Chipping Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird
Gray –crowned Rosy-finch
Golden-crowned Kinglet

Preferably on/at feeding stations or birdbaths:

Black Bear
Weasel, any species
Saw-whet owl
American Crow
Ruffed Grouse
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Yellow-bellied/Red-naped Sapsucker
Flying Squirrel
Northern or Loggerhead Shrike
Red-winged Blackbird (male and female)


Bald Eagle on roadkill
Townsend’s Solitaire at a birdbath
Mobbing behaviour by feeder birds
Crows washing/dipping food in a birdbath
Any bird bathing in winter
Any bird drinking at a birdbath
Any bird eating grit/oyster shell/eggshells
Feeder bird (preferably Blue Jay) in moult
Displacement behaviour at a feeding station
Cat at or around feeder, or with bird or small mammal in mouth
Woodpeckers pecking at siding/window sills (causing damage)
Any interesting/unusual feeder bird/birdbath behaviour

If you have photos of some of the species listed, please send them to no later than January 31, 2015. The final photo selection for the book is February 28, 2015.

Selected photos will be published in the book, and the photographer will be credited and will also receive a complimentary copy of the guide.

The guide is expected to be published in May 2015.

Here’s a photo I submitted — a Harris’s Sparrow from 2013,


Off to France and Germany

I’m heading to France and Germany shortly to visit family and friends for several weeks. In France, we’ll be staying about an hour south of Paris, near the forest of Fontainebleau, and in Germany we’ll be staying between Osnabrueck and Bremen.

I’ve traveled to parts of Canada, the US, and the Caribbean, but never to Europe. I’m looking forward to seeing the beautiful countryside and to seeing European birds, including the European Robin, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Crested Tit, European Nuthatch, European Magpie, European  Jay, Chaffinch, Brambling, European Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, and Hawfinch.

If you’ve been reading here, you probably know that one of the more frequent commenters is Jochen from Bell Tower Birding. Last month I got in touch with him to see if we might be able to meet (unfortunately not because the distance is too far), and he’s sent me maps of the area I’ll be in and helped me with finding my target species.

I’m bringing my copy of Birds of Europe (2nd edition) and also the Collins Bird Guide app for my iPad. 

I’m not sure what my internet situation will be on my trip, since our hosts are older and don’t have internet at home, but I’ll try to post a few photos while I’m away. And if I can’t post during my trip, I’ll have a full trip report when I get home.