We are back from our ten-day family vacation to Berlin and Prague and it was awesome. What’s not to like about cobblestone streets, great architecture, wonderful friends, lots of beer and delicious food, unfamiliar birds, and not working for ten days? Nothing, that’s what!

But this is a bird blog so I will stick to the birds here and simply share five things that I learned while birding in Germany or, to be more exact, while birding in Berlin.

5. Mandarin Ducks are countable in Germany.

Mandarin Duck at the Schlachtensee

Actually, Jochen let me know about the countability of these beautiful introduced Asian ducks before I left but I had somehow forgotten about them until we spent a day at the Schlachtensee, a nice lake on the western outskirts of Berlin that is easily accessible by subway. As soon as I spotted Aix galericulata though, I remembered, and was pleased to add the species to my life list.

4. There is some pretty cool bird graffiti in Berlin.

I came across this cool stencil in several spots in Berlin and it was one of several cool bits of bird graffiti I came across. You have to like a culture that even features birds in their vandalism!

3. European Robins eat worms too.

European Robin just before finishing off the worm at its feet

This probably shouldn’t have been at all surprising but somehow the fact that European Robins go after worms with the same gusto as the American Robin was revelatory to me.

2. Common Buzzards like shish kebob.

Common Buzzard eating shish kebob at Templehof

This Buteo buteo was very cooperative, mostly because it was entirely focused on downing the shish kebob let behind by picnickers that it found at Templehof. Watch out for a full gallery of this bird soon.

1. You never get tired of Hooded Crows.

Hooded Crow at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof (main train station)

Hooded Crows, or, as the Germans call them, Fog Crows (though in German of course), are everywhere in Berlin. And while they are a bit less exciting there then they are in New York they are still an awesome bird to see. And what’s not to like about a common cool bird?

What should I have learned while birding in Germany that I failed to learn?

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.