From 1911 to 1914 Collingwood spent part of each year in France, researching for his planned book on the birds of France.
'16 May 1911, Alpes Maritimes, At the edge of the forest I heard a bird singing. Could it be a hedge sparrow? It was the same pleasant, quick outpouring of sound, but many of the notes were quite strange to me and the whole had an unfamiliar ring about it. So, to satisfactorily identify the poor little songster, I was obliged to shoot it - it was identical with our own accentor!'
Collingwood had learnt his ornithology at a time when shooting to obtain specimens was necessary for the scientific study of birds, when egg-collecting was a widespread hobby as well as a scientific pursuit, and when nest disturbance was not understood to risk birds deserting their nests. He was not an egg-collector, but otherwise he was a man of his time.
For several years after his marriage in 1906, Collingwood seems to have done little sketching, By the time he travelled to France in spring 1914, only three months before the start of WW1, he was sketching freely again.