With the cold weather and the snow you may expect to see some unusual birds in your garden. One such bird is the fieldfare which in France is called Le Grive litorne.
The scientific name is Turdus pilaris. Turdus is the genus which contains birds like blackbirds, thrushes and redwings along with the fieldfare. The word Turdus gave my Sister in Law much amusement recently when she visited us and was looking through a book and saw the name Turdus turdus which is the scientific name for the blackbird…….ah well lets move on.
Field fares are migratory. They breed in Northern Europe, Eastern Europe and Asia, but move south for the winter, because it is not so cold here, the days are longer and there is more food. You may think the winter is horrible but to these little chaps coming here is like us going to Lanzarote! Some only go down as far as England but others push on down into France, Spain and Italy and some even make it as far as North Africa. I think I would put in the extra miles and get well south.
Similarly on the return journey back up North some do not go too far, There are two records of fieldfares breeding in this part of France, one record of breeding in the Dordogne and one just west of Tours, but this is the exception and is most unusual. Very few breed in England even, some do breed in Scotland but most head on towards Scandinavia. Having said that quite a few breed in central and Eastern Europe and breeding is a fairly regular occurrence along the eastern regions of France.
Generally fieldfares live in the fields and visit hedgerows where they feed on wild fruits like hawthorn berries, but they also search for worms and small grubs in the soil. The name fieldfare comes from the Anglo-Saxon feldefare meaning field traveller. It is only when the weather gets quite cold and snowy that they visit gardens and especially if you have some old apples lying about. Normally they are in flocks and may be confused with redwings and blackbirds.
This one was on his own but I expect if the cold weather lasts then a few of his friends will turn up.
For photos of other birds you might see in or from your garden in Poitou-Charentes click Poitou-Charentes garden birds