Birding Geneva, Postscript

Geneva’s not a large city or a hard city to get around in. You can reproduce most of this route simply by walking down to the lake, and then walking along either side, with side trips off into the various parks that line the lake. If you want to go a little further afield, the book to read is Les Bons Coins ornithologiques de Suisse Romande by the Groupe des Jeunes de Nos Oiseaux (Our Birds Youth Group). It provides detailed descriptions (in French) of over 100 excellent birding spots in the Southern part of Switzerland. It should be available in most large bookstores in Francophone Switzerland. Several of the chapters are online including la Rade de Genève et Petit Lac, which describes most of the route I took here. Even if you read French fairly well, it might still be helpful to carry a French field guide to assist with the bird names (Nettes rousse, Fuligules milouinans, Garrots, Macreuses, Harle huppé, etc.)

For actual identification of European birds, I’m partial to the Collins Bird Guide by Killian Mullarney, Lars Svensson, Dan Zetterström, and Peter J. Grant. It covers a larger area than I’d like ideally. (It’s a little annoying to think you’ve identified a bird only to check the map and discover the one you think you’re looking at only lives in Siberia or Israel.) However the pictures and text are second to none. It’s been translated into several languages, with adaptations for the countries that speak those languages. For instance, the English translation calculates bird rarity based on how likely birds are to be found in the British Isles. For field use make sure you order the paperback vesion, not the larger hardback version (though the latter has prettier pictures, it’s much too big to carry around in the field.)

The original Swedish version is Fägelguiden Europas och Mederhavsaomradets fägler i fält. Versions are also available in French, Dutch, German, Spanish, and possibly other languages.

One Response to “Birding Geneva, Postscript”

  1. Gaëtan Says:

    In connection to the book “Les Bons Coins ornithologiques de Suisse Romande” you mention, there is website set up to collect in real-time all the bird data in Suisse Romande. It’s . For now, it’s in French, but you can found the birds latin names.

    For “crazy” birders, there are also an RSS feed at and a WAP interface for mobile phone at

    FYI, Mute swans are also an exotic bird in Europe, they are supposed to come from Asia. The Greylag Geese you meet at l’île Rousseau are escaped. There are sometimes wilds one, but they are very shy and don’t stay in the city.

    BTW, as a writer, don’t hesitate to correct my sentences as I don’t write English very well.

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