Boulogne Forest, or Bois de Boulogne, is one of the few gardens in Paris that is not manicured so it is more bird friendly. The forest is 845 hectares in size and is utilised by Parisians and visitors in many ways. It is a great place for a picnic or stroll and is not too bad for birding either. Over 100 species of birds have been recorded in the park.
There are two lakes where one should see some waterbirds such as Great Cormorant, Black-headed Gull, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Moorhen and Mute Swan. Greylag and Canada Geese are present at times.
There is a 3 km trail, called Parcours Sportif, that is popular amongst those looking for some exercise. This is a good trail for birders as well – just keep out of the way of the joggers and cyclists! Don’t be too surprised if you run into a prostitute when birding the more densely vegetated areas of the trail! Much of the path is flanked by deciduous and coniferous trees.
Boulogne Forest birding
You are likely to see some of the more common species of European birds such as European Robin, European Blackbird, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and much more. With luck, you might see a Eurasian Kestrel or Eurasian Sparrowhawk overhead. In summer Barn Swallow is present as is Common Swift.
If you divert your attention from the undergrowth and scan the higher reaches of the trees, you should see European Nuthatch, Great and European Tits, Goldcrest and Short-toed Treecreeper. The Short-toed Treecreeper is very difficult to separate from the Treecreeper in the field, but the Short-toed Treecreeper appears to be the one most likely to be found here. A variety of woodpeckers may be seen, or heard, including Green, Lesser-spotted and Greater-Spotted Woodpeckers.
Is it worth visiting?
The Boulogne Forest is a good choice if you want to do some birding in Paris and you haven’t got too much time on your hands. I would like to say that you can escape the city entirely, but the traffic and other city noises are ever present which can make hearing bird calls quite challenging.