ARE WE EUROPE
ARE WE EUROPE
A woman at work

Birdwoman

By Mathilde Saliou

Let me take you on a day of birding with the passionate birdwatcher Isabelle Giraud in Paris. Isabelle volunteers for the ornithologic center of Ile-de-France (CORIF) to help the association with counting the different bird species that nest in Paris.  

Did you know that more than 60 different species of birds live in the French capital? 

A woman at work

A woman at work

Isabelle, a recently retired nurse, walks around in Paris to listen to singing birds for 7 years already. And for 4 years now, she helps to assemble data for an atlas of Parisian birds. Isabelle easily recognizes birds by their sing. Easier said than done, for a beginner! "Oh you know, one learns with time," reassures Isabelle. "When I entered the CORIF, I only knew little about birds."

Nooks and tombs

Nooks and tombs

Cemeteries are a good place for birds to nest. They are full of nooks, between the tombs or within the walls.

Listening time

Listening time

"Oh listen! Can you hear it? It’s easy to recognize its song!"

Easier said than done, for a beginner! "Oh you know, one learns with time," Isabelle reassures. "When I entered the CORIF, I only knew little about birds."

 

Undisturbed

Undisturbed

Less disturbed by the city's noise and pollution as one would think, they build their nest under buildings’ rooftops or in the trees next to busy streets. 

The counting starts

The counting starts

Each time she sees another bird, Isabelle writes it down. Was it alone? Carrying small branches? That means it’s nesting. A worm in its beak? Then it must be bringing food to its fledglings.

No holes, no birds ...

No holes, no birds ...

She looks at the big commercial buildings on the horizon, having a worried expression on her face.  "We keep replacing old houses by huge apartment buildings that don't have any holes or corners that offer shelter to birds. That’s a real issue, the environment we offer to these nesting species becomes less and less welcoming."

The observation field

The observation field

Several mornings per week, Isabelle chooses one of her one square km 'zones' to study the evolution of its bird population. She is responsible for counting birds in five different areas in Paris.

Data collection

Data collection

The sum of the data brought to the CORIF by its volunteers will help create an atlas of Paris' bird populations. In July, once the nesting period is finished, the association will be able to release a new edition of the atlas and compare it to their first counting, which took place 10 years ago.

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