Wildlife in Vienna

30 May

That’s “wildlife” consciously written as one word, not “wild life”. (Some people would say there isn’t much of the latter in Vienna–however much there is of the former–although all I can say is that there is a lot more going on than there used to be!)

The Kurier (daily newspaper in Vienna) has a magazine on Saturdays and in that magazine last week they had an article about wildlife in Vienna, accompanied by beautiful photos. The article starts with someone in the 13th district telling about a fox–dubbed Adam–who visits his garden. It goes on to tell about a project “Wiener Wildnis” (www.wiener wildnis.at) that records and protects that wildlife.

Among the other animals mentioned, and pictured, were: stag beetles, ground squirrels (related, visibly, to groundhogs), black-bellied hamsters, seagulls (not bad for a landlocked country!), swans, mallard ducks, grey herons, rabbits, agile frogs (that “agile” is part of the name and the genus is part of the “true frog” family :-)), cormorants, bats, common kestrels, hedgehogs, badgers and beavers.

I was most surprised by the hamsters (I always think of them as pets, only), the badgers, the beavers, and the grey herons. I’ve encountered deer, boar, foxes, squirrels (of course), ducks and so on in the Vienna Woods and sometimes even in the city parks.

The most delightful encounter I had with one of these animals was with a hedgehog. I was at a Heuriger (wine tavern / garden) in Neustift am Walde, felt something run over my foot, looked under the table and almost melted when I saw the most beautiful little hedgehog scuttling away. It made me think of the Beatrix Potter books I grew up on.

Grateful thanks go to Wikipedia for the English names of the animals. My system? I look up the German names in the German-language Wikipedia, get the Latin name, copy that into the English-language Wikipedia and voilá! Then I know that a Turmfalke (Falco tinnunculus), which left to my own devices I probably would have translated as a “tower falcon”, is a Common or Old World Kestrel. 🙂

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