Steve Troletti Photography: Cranes / Grue &emdash; White-naped Crane / Grue à cou blanc

White-naped Crane and chick

One of the nicest animal parks I’ve ever visted has to be Le Parc des Oiseaux in Villars-les-Dombes, France. The entire park is made mostly of open spaces where you can enjoy a mix of captive birds and local wild birds, often living together in the same area. There’s a vast lake and wetlands area which hosts local and migrating birds. Here visitors can enjoy and observe local wildlife living freely. End of May, beginning of June allows you to see Grebe’s, Coots and other wild birds nesting and raising their youngs.

The entire area of Villars-les-Dombes, France is made of lakes, swamps and wetlands. It’s very rich in wildlife, especially water fowls and herons. Having these local birds interact and live freely with the park’s birds adds a unique flavor to an already wonderfully managed animal park.

One of the Parks more interesting residents are the White-naped Crane. They usually breed in northeastern Mongolia, northeastern China, and adjacent areas of southeastern Russia. There a program at Khinganski Nature Reserve raises eggs provided from Zoos around the world in an effort to strengthen the population. Only about 5000 of these birds remain in the wild. It’s thinly dispersed population can be found migrating for winter near the Yangtze River, the DMZ in Korea and on Kyūshū in Japan. They’ve been known to reach areas of Kazakhstan and Taiwan.

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