It is the insensible birder who doesn’t learn something on each and every birding outing. And on a week-long trip especially devoted to birding in a place that a birder has never been the amount a birder can learn is pretty much unlimited. I do try to experience and learn as much as I can on every trip and my week in Hungary was no exception. Rather than force you to go all the way to Hungary to learn on your own the five main lessons I learned I figured sharing them here on the blog would be worthwhile. Just consider saving you having to go to Hungary to look at birds as one of the many services we here at 10,000 Birds provide.

Without further ado then here are…

Five Things I Learned While Birding in Hungary

1. Common House Martins have feathered legs and feet. I actually learned this lesson without even leaving the airport, as martins actually nest outside of the terminal at Ferenc Liszt International Airport, which serves Budapest. How cool is that?

mud-gathering Common House Martin Delichon urbicum

2. When Europeans say “That is a really bright Wood Warbler,” it means something very different from when Americans say “That is a really bright wood-warbler.” Poor, deprived, Europeans.

3. If you hear a bird singing in Europe and you momentarily misidentify it as a House Wren it is actually a Chaffinch. Yes, every single time.

singing Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

4. Every Song Thrush is French, even those that have never been to France. I present the image below as evidence.

snail-bashing Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

5. Black Woodpeckers are mythical creatures that Europeans, jealous of our Pileated Woodpecker, made up. I am not sure how this relates to the treecreeper conspiracy but I will figure it out one of these days.

I hope you found this helpful and that I saved you from having to bird Hungary yourself. What’s that you say? You’ve just booked a flight to Hungary because you want to see some of the really cool birds there? Well, go ahead, but don’t come back saying you have seen a Black Woodpecker unless you want to look really foolish…

My week-long trip to Hungary was a familiarity trip organized by the wonderful folks at Swarovski Optik to introduce their new line of superior spotting scopes, the ATX and the STX modular telescopes. We visited Hortobágy National Park, the Bükk Hills and places in between. Many thanks to Swarovski Optik for inviting me along and letting me experience both some awesome new optics and the natural wonders of the wonderful country of Hungary.


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.