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?