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An introduction to France for anyone visiting with birds in mind, from casual birdwatchers checking a bird that flies over the terrace during a family holiday to addict birders who would sell their souls for a dream species or a record-breaking checklist. Some may have just a few spare hours to get their binoculars out between business meetings or museum visits, others will be out in the field for two weeks or more, from sunrise to sunset. The authors wrote Where to Watch Birds in France for all bird lovers, birdwatchers and birders, whatever the duration of their stay, the number of kilometres they are prepared to travel and how they enjoy birds.
With over 400 regularly occurring species, of which 357 normally breed or winter, France has arguably one of the most diverse avifaunas of the whole of Europe, spanning an incredible range from colourful Mediterranean flagship species such as roller, bee-eater or black-winged kite to secretive cold-climate or mountain specialists like three-toed woodpecker and Tengmalm's owl. The Birdfinder section provides targeted details for 30 species which often rank in the top wish-list of birders visiting France.
Dividing the country into 14 regions, the authors highlight 312 representative sites, chosen for their bird species composition and ease of access. The selected sites enable the reader to see the widest possible species diversity and largest range of local specialities in a reasonable time, while respecting the basic ethical rules obvious to all birdwatchers. Whenever possible, sites are arranged in clusters or itineraries that can be covered in two to three days without hurrying. To supplement the use of Where to Watch Birds in France in the field, all the sites described are geolocated in a file that can be downloaded from the publisher's website and loaded onto any GPS device.
Regions at a glance
Birdwatching in France
Region 1 – Paris and the Seine Reservoirs
Region 2 – From the North Sea to the Somme Bay and the western Ardennes
Region 3 – Normandy
Region 4 – Brittany
Region 5 – The Loire Valley
Region 6 – Poitou-Charentes and the Vendée
Region 7 – Aquitaine
Region 8 – The Pyrenees
Region 9 – Western Mediterranean Coast and the Cévennes
Region 10 – Eastern Mediterranean Coast, Southern Alps and Corsica
Region 11 – Jura and the Alps
Region 12 – Massif Central
Region 13 – Burgundy
Region 14 – Northeast
"[...] I would highly recommend Where to Watch Birds in France as a well thought out book that collates and easily directs you to interesting bird spots that you might not have found outside of local guides or websites. The authors and contributors have definitely written something that they would want to use themselves and this certainly feels like a guide designed by bird watchers for bird watchers!"
– Katharine Bowgen, BTO book reviews