Share a part of the life of our consultants by discovering their hobbies! This month, let's talk about Gérald Mengisen (d²X Switzerland) and his passion for birdwatching.
What is your double life?
I have a passion for observing and listening to birds, either at home, or during a walk along Lake Geneva or Lake Neuchâtel, or while hiking in the mountains. I feel lucky to be able to share this passion with my wife.
When and how did you start?
My parents were members of the birdwatchers' association in the village where I grew up. Since I was 12 years old, they took me on nature excursions with a guide who had a telescope and who showed us and described the birds we encountered. Then I devoured all the bird identification books in our household to learn as much as possible by heart (this was long before the age of the internet...).
What do you like about this passion?
I love the diversity of birds: from the smallest, like the Eurasian wren, to the very large like the golden eagle, showing vastly different colors and songs. When you travel, you can discover birds that you don't normally see at home. For example, recently we visited the Matterhorn:
(Crédit photo : Gérald Mengisen, 2021)
At an altitude of about 2,200 m, we were delighted to see and hear for the first time a Snow bunting, a pretty bird with a melodic song:
(Crédit photo : pbonenfant, CC BY 2.0)
On our way down to about 1,900 m, we saw a group of European goldfinches, one of the most beautiful birds that can be seen in our gardens:
(Crédit photo : Francis C. Franklin, CC-BY-SA-3.0)
To summarize, it is the discovery of new things, but also the beauty of the colors and the songs that I like.
And in your daily life, how does your passion fit in?
In winter, we make sure our bird feeders are full. In spring, I look forward to seeing each new species that returns from Africa (swallows, swifts, etc.). In the fall, we watch for rare migratory birds like cranes or storks. And when it rains, we play Wingspan, a peaceful and friendly board game centered around birds, which does not have the goal of "destroying" other players as is the case with Monopoly.
Have you acquired skills that you use in your professional life?
Yes, to pay attention to details! It also helps to develop patience and flexibility (when you want to observe a particular bird species, nature does not always cooperate...).
Thank you Gérald for your answering our questions!