oxpeg herons find refuge in town

VSach evening, around 6 p.m. on the banks of the Dordogne in Bergerac, nature offers one of those fascinating spectacles of which it has the secret. Colonies, made up of several hundred oxpeckers (or guard…

VSach evening, around 6 p.m. on the banks of the Dordogne in Bergerac, nature offers one of those fascinating spectacles of which it has the secret. Colonies, made up of several hundred oxpeckers (or cattle egrets), join their dormitories on the left bank of the river. These birds arrive from the four corners of Bergerac, in small groups, to find refuge in the city, in the trees. To enjoy these scenes, you have to go to the dam promenade, especially at rue Lamartine.


Ox-peckers find refuge on the banks of the Dordogne in Bergerac.

Nancy Ladde

“There are three dormitories on the banks of the Dordogne,” says Claude Soubiran, a Bergerac member of the League for the Protection of Birds. This is a behavior that many birds have, these herons have a gregarious instinct, they group together to sleep. They find refuge in the city. In the riparian forest, they feel safe from predators. »

In the pastures

During the day, cattle egrets can be seen in the pastures. As their name suggests, they stay close to cattle to feast on the insects around them. “In documentaries, we see them on the backs of buffaloes or elephants,” laughs Claude Soubiran. This bird native to Africa was observed for the first time in France in 1958 according to information found on Wikipedia.

“It is an indicator of global warming”

In the Bergerac region, Claude Soubiran estimates that the species has particularly developed over the past twenty years. “It is an indicator of global warming, I believe the specialist who has been in the field for forty years. These herons come up and overwinter here, although they can sometimes suffer from the cold and lack of insects. »

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