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Introduced species and invasive species: who are these birds in the Nièvre?

Birds are disappearing, we often hear it said, and it is true. Overall, ornithological surveys show the decline in the numbers of small passerines in our countryside due to the attacks to which their habitats are subjected.

However, numbers and species should not be confused. These sometimes increase due to man. Birds that do not belong to the European fauna escape from animal parks: we can thus find certain “ornamental” ducks in our lakes or rivers.

These are, for example, carolin and mandarin ducks. When they manage (rarely) to reproduce on our territory, we speak of “allochthonous” species. This requires that they adapt to our climatic conditions. Thus, North American bobwhites (small phasianids) observed in the Donzy region do not seem to have survived for very long.

Allochthonous species

Everyone knows the Colchis pheasant, which originated in Asia and appeared in Europe as early as Roman times?; it is often raised and released for hunting and manages to breed. It is therefore part of what are called “feral” species. Some alien species do almost too well.

The mute swan, native to Asia and Northeastern Europe, was introduced to Central and Western Europe as an ornamental bird as early as the Middle Ages. And he was even eaten?! Since 1975, it proliferates in the Nièvre and is now an integral part of the landscape. The Decizois are witnesses to this. It only needs calm waters or a grassy pond to build its large nest. The male can be aggressive and keeps competition at bay.

The black swan. © Daniel Dupuy

The black swan, originally from Australia, was introduced to England in 1831. It has been found in France since 1974. Introduced into parks as a spectacular ornamental bird, its abundance remains modest (mainly in the Saint-Benin- of Azy and Nohain). There are no reported problems at this time.

Some species enjoy public sympathy, but have been shown to compete with native fauna, proliferate for lack of natural predators and therefore harm biodiversity. They are then qualified as invasive.

Canada geese. © Marie-Jo Piquet

Thus, the Canada goose, which appeared in France at the beginning of the 1960s, is experiencing a very strong increase on all our water bodies in Nivernais. In France, growth was 24% between 2013 and 2015, to such an extent that the OFB began to carry out regulation shots and it can be hunted during the opening period (2016).

Egyptian goose. © Christian Billard

The appearance of the Egyptian goose, anatidae of the African continent, is recent on the Loire and the Allier or in the sand pits. Its density remains low in our department, but its presence is unmistakable. Eventually, this large anatidae may also pose problems for certain other birds in the Loire. Its sale has been prohibited since 2017.

The ring-necked parakeet. © Christian Billard

Coming from Africa and Asia, the ring-necked parakeet has colonized the parks around Paris and many large cities. It brazenly invaded the gardens of the prefecture in Nevers in 2017 where it competes with starlings and some readers have reported to Nature Nièvre that it invites itself to the feeder in their gardens?! In conclusion, an invasive species is therefore an introduced species, invasive and disruptive of the environment.

Calendar of releases in May. The activities offered by Nature Nièvre are as follows: sunday 8 : Bona, discovering orchids; saturday 14 : in the Saint-Sulpice/Ourouër sector, prospecting for diurnal birds of prey; sunday 15 : Verneuil, Nature Festival with the Friends of Verneuil (field trip, exhibition and conference on the black stork)?; Wednesday 18 and Friday 20 : Decize (Eqiom sandpit)?; Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 : Château de Meauce (exhibition, observations and conference on the birds of the Allier and the Loire). More details on the Nature Nièvre Facebook page or on faune-nievre.org.

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