Global Birdfair 2024: See France’s Fabulous Wildlife



Global Birdfair 2024: See France’s Fabulous Wildlife

The largest bird and wildlife event of its kind, Global Birdfair is held every year in the UK to raise awareness about nature protection and the French natural parks make an important appearance. 

Global Birdfair (previously British Birdwatching Fair) has taken place near Rutland Water every year since its first appearance in 1989. One of the largest events of its kind in the world, this year it will be held on 12, 13 & 14 July at Lyndon Top Caravan Park, east of Leicester. With something on offer for all generations, Global Birdfair aims to encourage the awareness and protection of nature. It’s not only about birds; you can find out about all aspects of the natural world as you walk around the event.   

It is very much a social event, with many people coming to meet and talk with friends they haven’t seen since the previous year, or maybe longer. For more information, visit 

Marsh Terns, known as Guifettes in French © Chevallereu

The Natural Regional Parks of France

Joining in the fun and promoting the fabulous wildlife to be seen in France, the French Parcs Naturels Regionaux have had a stand annually since 1998. Every year, friends old and new have come by to ask for information about a possible forthcoming trip to France to see wildlife or to share their experiences of a past trip.  

This year, come by the Marquee Robin, stand R97 and say bonjour. Representatives from the Alpilles (near the Camargue), Cotentin and Bessin and Boucles de la Seine (Normandy), the Haut-Languedoc (Provence) and Brenne (central France) regional parcs will be attending. If you have any questions concerning these parcs or any other areas in France we’d be only too pleased to talk with you at our stand. 

We’ll be giving a lecture concerning birding in France (“Birding news from France – what’s coming your way”: Avocet stage, Saturday 13th July, 13:30). 

Birds of France

This lecture will give a recap of changes in the status of some bird specie’s distribution and status in France over the last few years. Remarkable examples are the explosion in the number of breeding Black-winged Kite and their expansion northwards, the ever-increasing numbers of Cattle Egrets in the north of France or the vast increase of the number of White Storks nesting in Normandy; these and many others may well make the jump into southern Britain to start breeding, as the Little Egret already has.  

These are all examples of species moving north probably partly due to climate change. There are, however, other factors influencing population changes with some species arriving from farther east. In Britain, we have recently seen a dramatic increase in the number of Red-flanked Bluetail and Blyth’s Reed Warbler now occurring on an annual basis. Other species may well follow; could the recent occurrences of groups of Pygmy Cormorants in the north-east of France be a fore runner of their occurrence in Britain – who’ll be the lucky person to come across this first for Britain? 

But there is much more to wildlife in France than just birds; whatever your interest there are many rare, new and interesting species to be seen and nearly all of them in one or several of the country’s Parcs Naturels Régionaux. 

Yellow wagtail © Global Birdfair

Saved from extinction

Many iconic species of mammals have come back from having been at very low numbers or completely lost: wolf, lynx, beaver and otter being the most spectacular. They are never easy to find, but they’re there. Throughout France there are many common species that don’t occur at all in Britain such as Garden Dormouse and beech Martin to name but two. At higher altitudes there are species such as Chamois, Mouflon, Marmot… there’s no shortage of species to look for. 

It’s the same story for butterflies and dragonflies and for the plant lovers, the variety of species may sometimes be a little overpowering. The site of fields full of orchids, wild tulips or daffodils is something that shouldn’t be missed. 

And all this in a country renown for good food and wine, abundant historic monuments and fine weather. So why not come and see us at Global Birdfair, we’d be delighted to have a chat and provide you with expert information and advice on the wildlife to be found in la belle France. 

Lead photo credit : © Tony Williams

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