Golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos

The Golden Eagle, so called  in reference to the color of its feathers, is a majestic bird that frequently flies over the Montagne de Bleine. He is fond of the rocky environments and cliffs of the northern reserve, which represent the southeastern limit of his hunting territory.

This bird, with a wingspan of over 2 meters (6.56 feet), is a formidable predator, capable of ravishing large prey like young chamois. Like all animals, he is an opportunist and when conditions become difficult, he resigns himself to eating carrion.

It is a bird rather homebody. He can stay on his territory, in a relationship with the same partner all his life (20 to 30 years!). The nest, usually built in a cliff shelters the young  who will accompany the parents for 3 or 4 months to learn to hunt.

VultureGyps fulvus and aegypius manochus

The Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) and the Monk Vulture (Aegypius monachus) frequently fly over the Reserve. In particular because they access the Mercantour from their reintroduction site on the Gorges du Verdon, using the strong ascending currents of the Pic de l’Aigle.

These raptors are valuable auxiliaries of animal health because they are necrophagous birds. Real scavengers capable of recycling decaying carcasses, they are epidemiological dead end for bacteria thanks to the bactericidal properties of their saliva and the particularly acidic pH of their stomach.

By reducing the need for rendering, they save the community hundreds of thousands of euros per year! When we thought they had disappeared ,we owe their return to some stubborn enthusiasts like the Terrasse brothers

other raptorsdiurnal and nocturnal

Many other diurnal or nocturnal raptors live in La Réserve or nearby. Among these :

The goshawk(Accipiter gentilis)

It is the most forest dwelling of diurnal raptors frequenting the Reserve, one of the masters of flight hunting. He roams regularly around our dovecote.

It is a bird that is becoming very rare. It needs preserved environments, rich in small fauna that it likes: pigeons, jays, woodpeckers but also squirrels, hares or marmots. He is discreet, not very talkative and looks for hidden perches.

A pair breeds in the Reserve, the female lays 2 or 3 eggs early in April. The young are fed exclusively by the male.

the peregrine falcon(Falco peregrenis)

It is the fastest diurnal raptor in the world. When it attacks its prey, it can exceed 300km / h (over 186 miles/hour).

Its diet consists exclusively of birds ranging in size from blackbirds to pigeons.

Almost disappearing in the 70s, because of the massive use of pesticides, it made a remarkable comeback, especially in regions like ours where agricultural practices are rather reasoned.

The Reserve houses  a pair , on its heights,  in a well sheltered cavity. The female lays mid-March and raises 2 to 3 young. The pair consumes thrushes and starlings, sometimes our pigeons.

the common buzzard(Buteo buteo)

Diurnal raptor, it takes its French name from the variations of its plumage which goes from white to brown, sometimes to black. Its legs and wax (base of the beak) are yellow.

On the Reserve, a pair is easily observable. The male and the female perch most often on the stakes to capture their  prey on the ground : field mice, voles, lizards or grasshoppers! It nestles in the pines, in a large nest where, in the spring, 3 or 4 youngsters hatch and will take flight in early July.

When night falls, the owls (little owl, Tengmalm’s owl) and little duke, middle duke, grand duke seize the kingdom of the airs. Their songs are often the undeniable signs of their presence. This is how the Little Owl, one of the most common nocturnal inhabitants of the Réserve, lullabies the evenings of visitors with his sweet flute song.

Eagle owl(Bubo bubo)

A couple nesting on the reserve. It is a large bird (70 cm (27.5 inches) long and 1m70 (5.6feet)wingspan) hunting in open areas. His prey are varied: from the mouse to the kit! Like the golden eagle, adults are sedentary and can spend their entire lives together on the same hunting territory.

For 15 years, this couple has been breeding here, giving birth to 2 or 3 young each year. The Tenglmalm’s Owl, this small nocturnal raptor, very rare and protected in Europe was very recently recorded on the Reserve.

The Tenglmalm’s Owl

This small nocturnal raptor, very rare and protected in Europe was very recently recorded on the Reserve.

In order to facilitate its settlement , we communicate very little about this species.

The Tenglmalm’s owl  is a very pretty little owl: 25 cm (10  inches) long for an average weight of 100 gr (3.5ounces) for the male, more than 150 gr (5.3 ounces)for the female.

Heavier, she defends her young while the male hunts to feed them: muscins, voles and other small rodents, small birds …

The pygmy owl(Glaucidium passerinum)

The smallest nocturnal raptor: 15 cm (5.9 inches) long for a weight ranging from 60 gr (2 ounces) for the  male to 75gr  (2.6 ounces)for the female.

It is a day and twilight owl that lives alone or in pairs, usually nesting in a tree cavity, rather in old coniferous forests.

Becoming  rare in France, it benefits in the Reserve from a protected environment . It feeds on small mammals and small birds, still in large quantity in the domain, lays 3 to 4 eggs in April that hatch after 4 weeks. Young  fly away in early July.

: Passerines and corvidsa very diversified avifauna

The bird life of the Reserve is very diverse. Small birds are numerous and easily observable during visits.

Around buildings, in addition to the inevitable swallows which, in the spring, knead the land of muddy areas, it is common to observe the black redstart land on the wooden rails in front of the restaurant. Or, at the beginning of summer, to hear the particular song of the ant-marten torcols of which a couple nestles in a hollow walnut near the villa.

Further on, the woody locusts roam the plain with the larks and rock your visits with their characteristic song. Even if their presence is permanent, it is especially during migrations that the spring wagtail transforms the meadows into fields of “jumping buttercup”. The forest areas are the playground of the black woodpecker that raps here and there.

The chaffinch, the great tit, the blue tit … roam the branches in search for food. At the end of the afternoon, the Blackbird accompanies the carriages on return  with his flute song.

Among the corvids, the magpie does not fail to be noticed. And while you tried to go unnoticed, the jay  will signal to the entire forest your presence, with its specific alarm!

Let’s not forget the majestic representative of this family, the raven. Two couples nest on the Reserve. You will be able to admire them in flight and to locate them due to the wedge-shaped form (in the shape of a diamond) of its tail.

Waterbirdsdiversity and number increasing

Their diversity and numbers have increased since the expansion of the  Reserve wetlands. Anatidae are represented by the mallard nesting on the Reserve and teal, passing during migration. By observing the surface of the water, you will see, perhaps, a small ball of feathers appear here, disappear and reappear further. It is the small grebe which, for two years, hunts in the big lake.

Shorebirds are also numerous. The common knight and the white knight travel around the lake, pecking in mud in search of invertebrates. Others are rarer, such as the stilt or the barking knight stopping for a few days to a few weeks during their migration. Not to mention the common snipe which, in the fall and in small groups, frequents the creeks of the streams, crossing the Reserve