So, I have now been living in the Alps for about 4 years. And I cannot claim that it was easy at first. I grew up in South Africa where my garden list was over 200. I then lived in Central America where there were more bird species than my bird books (and my competence) could hope to identify. The Tirolean Alps are – well – rather barren by comparison. But then again, those are some pretty hard acts to follow.

bla bla bla (add interesting text here) >> fast forward >> the end bit…

so the real reason I wanted to write this blog post is that I wanted to share this video:

All these images were taken right here, where we live and make fancy schmancy binoculars. In fact, the photographer, Christoph Malin (who normally spends his time doing/photographing craziness on mountain bikes) lives in the same village as our factory. So it is not just that the images are beautiful, it is also that they were taken right here!

<< rewind << back to the beginning

so, the thing is, when I first got to Tirol, I really needed a bit more of a push to get me outside and birding. To see what I could see. To explore the (relatively) depressing forests. And out of that, came my Discovering Alpine Birds blog. I added the “discovering” bit, because while I could find a Mealy’s Parrot nest with relative ease and felt at home in a good few bird communities, I had absolutely no idea about European birds. And with no-one about to teach me, I was left to my own defences to find and get to know the 3 species that regularly occur here. Which brings me to another- mostly unrelated point – I really believe that a whole pile about being a good birder is pure innate talent. I have always loved sport and have always played a lot of sport. And lots of different types of sport too. And I am a bit of a Jack of all Trades in that I am competent at lots of sports, but I just simply lack the natural talent to be really good at anything. Let’s face it, I will never ever be able to show Sachin Tendulkar or Andre Agassi anything (besides maybe the way to the toilet). Unfortunately, I have recently realised that my ability as a birder falls slap bang next to my sporting ability.

And this realisation was hard. really hard. Because, let’s face it, the average European birder – especially those that are more competent – are a rather critical bunch. Just look at this Birdforum thread and you will know what I mean. But now I seem to have wondered completely off of what I was trying to say.

gotta love those Alpine Accentors

What I really wanted to express is that so much of the joy I get out of birding has very little to do with what I am seeing, or where I am, but more of a deeper, unexplainable appreciation. Sure I get more excited about a Banded Pitta than a European Robin. But I also really like robins. And stars. And mountains. Damn, I think I am going to get called a robin stroker.

Happy birding,



Written by Dale Forbes
Dale grew up in the forests and savannas of South Africa, developing a love for nature from a young age. After studying Zoology and Wildlife Science, he moved to Central America to continue his work in conservation biology. He is a member of BirdLife International’s Advisory Board and is Swarovski Optik’s Head of Strategic Business Development.