Get away from it all in the Ariège

The Domaine des oiseaux is an ornithological observation area of ​​over 100 ha, located in Mazères in the Ariège (11).

Created in 2005, it houses a museum of old tools, an educational farm and a tourist office. You can discover 237 different bird species there, the Camargue Regional Natural Park has around 350 of them. Throughout the year, this unique place in Occitania welcomes nearly 17,000 visitors.

In a small room behind the peasant museum, visitors can admire different species up close, thanks to 4 cameras with a powerful zoom. They can also discover 4 large aquariums on either side of the big screen. Anglers may encounter various species of fish found in the lakes of the estate.

Species to discover

In this place which has remained rather wild, 25 kinds of birds are present all year round, such as the great crested grebe and the heron. There are also sparrows nested under the roof of the building, a dovecote and storks that came as a couple from Alsace. This haven of peace allows the reproduction of ornithological fauna. It is also a stopover for migratory birds during their long journeys. In spring and autumn, tens of millions of birds fly over the Pyrenees every year to reach their destination. They can rest and eat there.

We can observe on the wetland, a lot of passage of various species such as the snipe, the sylvan knight, the cul-blanc, the guignette, the barker. Pigeons, mallards, shoveler, high-whistling teals, reed buntings, coots and cattle herons are the inhabitants of the estate. It takes half a day, or even a whole day to get to know them. The domain protects on this site in Midi-Pyrénées, species such as white stilts and plovers.

White storks migrate twice a year. For the prenuptal migration, the birds move from the wintering areas to the nesting areas. The postnuptial corresponds to the reverse route (from the breeding site to the winter quarters via the Strait of Gibraltar). This year, 50 young and 30 adults were counted towards hot countries. Some come from the Netherlands. In addition, there are 25 sedentary white storks on the estate throughout the year.

The educational farm

The educational farm located at the beginning of the park has several enclosures bringing together different species: geese, ducks and swans, donkeys or Ouessant sheep. Visitors can also pick fruit in the orchard and rest on picnic areas after fishing or hiking.

The Domaine des oiseaux is a real paradise for bird watchers, photographers, fishermen and nature lovers, walkers and large families.

Photo enthusiasts, admiring the flora and fauna of the estate have created an association by coming together, to offer the sharing of their shots on a site (www.ville-mazeres.fr/Les-Amis-Du- Domaine-des-Oiseaux (http://www.ville-mazeres.fr/Les-Amis-du-Domaine-des-Oiseaux))

Origin of the project

The construction of the A66 in the 2000s made it possible to set up this environmentally friendly project. The land dug to recover the aggregates gave way to bodies of water after the construction of the highway. After restitution to the town hall of Mazères, the latter decided to create a center for the protection of nature, fauna and flora, with the help of the Hunting and Fishing federations of Ariège.

Initially, the park included 30 lakes over 50 hectares. The town then bought the farm, restored the estate barn and the dovecote. The creation of trails has enabled the construction of 14 observatories to observe birds without disturbing them. Pontoons on the lake are equipped for fishing and access for people with reduced mobility.

The rescue center for bird survival

Opened in February 2012, the care center, “l’Aouselou” (the bird) is located in private rooms located in the east wing of the main building in Augé. Those in charge of the “Domaine des oiseaux” have obtained authorization from the services of the Prefecture of Ariège to open a care center for birds in distress of all species. Until then, it was not allowed to collect wild animals without official permission.

The collections of injured animals are organized by local veterinary practitioners, forest guards, the Federation of hunters of Ariège and neighboring departments, local naturalist associations.

An animal room, a nursery with incubator and an infirmary welcome the wounded or sick. The center also has a work and meeting room as well as a kitchen. For convalescence, there are 2 large aviaries to release, 4 for rehabilitation, 4 isolation boxes and 2 cleats in the woods to relearn how to appropriate the space before the great flight to freedom.

The bird is taken care of as soon as it arrives and then the care is provided. In the event of heavier care (surgery) or the need for a more complete diagnosis, the bird is transferred to the Wildlife Clinic of the Toulouse Veterinary School.

Since its creation, “l’Aouselou” has hosted more than 700 birds before releasing them, including many raptors (Athena owls, tawny owls, Jean le Blanc circaetes, great dukes of Europe, griffon vultures …)

How to rescue a bird?

  • Stay calm, make as little noise as possible
  • Use gloves or a cloth to catch it
  • Pay attention to the talons of raptors, the wings of swans, the beaks of wading birds and the relaxation of their necks.
  • Place it in a cardboard box at its size, newspaper at the bottom and a few holes above
  • Insulate it in a calm and warm place
  • Do not give food or drink without professional advice
  • Notify the bird care center (Aouselou de Mazères) to transport and treat it as quickly as possible

To help a young, found on the ground during the nesting period, adults (blackbirds, thrushes, owls and owls) continue to feed and learn on the ground. In case of danger of predation, place the chick on a high branch. In case of greater danger, notify the center.

Visit the bird domain

  • the museum with its old tools allowing you to relive yesterday’s agriculture and the evocation of the history of foie gras upstairs
  • a projection room making it possible to follow the life of birds on a screen in real time thanks to the cameras placed in the right places of the Estate
  • the educational farm with its turkeys, ducks, geese, donkeys, sheep, cows, pigs as well as all the old breeds of chickens
  • the conservatory orchard.

The domain

  • Information:
  • Tel: 05 61 69 12 97 or06 50 19 26 82
  • Mail: domainedesoiseaux@wanadoo.fr (mailto: domainedesoiseaux@wanadoo.fr)
  • Unguided visit (free) permanently.
  • Paying guided tour by reservation with an ornithology specialist over a half-day or a full day.

Museum Visit Hours

Winter (September 23 to June 20):

  • Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.

Summer (from June 21 to September 22):

  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Accommodation & catering

La Ferme Ô Délices, a creative traditional restaurant and charming accommodation, welcomes you all year round at the Domaine des Oiseaux.

From May 1 to September 30, 2019:

  • From Tuesday to Sunday – Midis and Evenings & Sunday Midday: 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Sunday evening and Monday: Closed

All dogs must be kept on a leash.

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