Collaboration in the French Society for the Protection of Birds

LPO Refuge accreditation from the French Society for the Protection of Birds
Villandry: the first castle to obtain the accreditation “LPO Refuge”

As part of their biodiversity policy, the Château de Villandry contacted the Touraine region delegation of the French Society for the Protection of Birds (LPO) to have the site listed as an LPO refuge.

In 2012, a weighted abundance index study was carried out to draw up an inventory of species present on the site. Nearly 90 species of birds were counted in the 25 hectares of the site, comprising 16 hectares of walled areas, 9 of which are forest and 6 garden, and 9 hectares of meadowland along the River Cher.

The following are just some of the species that have been seen at Villandry:
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, Tree Pipit, Marsh Tit, Sand Martin, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Cattle Egret, Redwing, Common Firecrest, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Reed Bunting.

After the conclusive results of this study, the Villandry Gardens were presented with the “LPO Refuge” accreditation in November 2012 by Allain Bougrain-Dubourg, President of the French Society for the Protection of Birds. In 2013, Villandry continued its interest in its birds and commissioned a major photographic documentary throughout the whole season. These photographs were on display in the exhibition “Villandry: a 100% organic garden, haven of biodiversity”, and in a major exhibition of all the bird photographs taken at Villandry in June 2014.

Chirocam project : bats under high surveillance at Villandry

In 2017, the collaboration with the Touraine region delegation of the French Society for the Protection of Birds (LPO) is taking on a new dimension with the Chirocam project, showcasing the château’s colony of bats discovered in 2013.

Each year, the Château of Villandry welcomes a colony of greater mouse-eared bats around April. They gather in the Château’s attics to give birth to and raise their young. Although they are delicate and protected, these little flying mammals are not very well known and often badly perceived by the general public.

As part of the Chirocam project, the colony is now placed under high surveillance thanks to infrared cameras installed in the château’s attics. LPO Touraine also regularly monitors the bats. First and foremost, this project is of scientific importance, as it offers the LPO the possibility of gaining new knowledge about these chiroptera.

The Chirocam scheme also provides an opportunity to put in place a mediation campaign in favour of bats and raise awareness about these species among as many people as possible. Visitors to the château can discover how a colony of bats operates thanks to an explanatory sign set up on the site. Likewise, school groups and leisure centres enjoy special workshops for getting to know bats better… while observing the Villandry colony live! Extracts from the life of the greater mouse-eared bats are also broadcast on the association’s website ( throughout the season so as not to miss a thing from the colony’s life!

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