Author Archives: Amy

Feral Raccoons Threaten Dutch Birds

The increasing population of wild, feral raccoons living in the Netherlands is a serious threat to Dutch bird life, according to AAP, a sanctuary for exotic animals. The center, located in Almere, is currently caring for over 20 raccoons, its maximum capacity.

Raccoons are an invasive species not native to Europe. Groups are established in the wild in Drenthe, Groningen, and other locations. They are omnivorous, eating everything from shellfish to fruit. They also dine on the eggs of prairire birds, waders and waterfowl.

The masked animals are descendants of escaped or released pets, many originating in Germany.

Source: Wasberen serieuze bedreiging voor weidevogels

Posted in Invasive / Non-native, Netherlands | Leave a comment

Foto Friday: Gannet in rehab

Earlier this week we visited the Dutch Wadden island Texel. We spent some time at Ecomare, a visitor center and natural history museum that also has a seal and wild bird shelter. There were several Gannets in the bird enclosure, like this one:

Seven of the Gannets at Ecomare are permanent residents. They help newcomers deal with the stress of being in ‘rehab’. There were four other Gannets in the enclosure that will be released when they are healthy.

Read more about our visit to Texel on our personal blog.

Posted in Foto Friday (paused), Netherlands | Leave a comment

Pigeons in the news

Pigeons made the news this week with two different stories.

First, officials at Wimbledon came under fire after using marksmen to shoot pigeons that were dive-bombing the tennis tournament. Read about Wimbledon’s pigeon shoot.

Later in the week, guards at the Marilia prison in Brazil noticed an increase in contraband like cellphones and drugs inside the prison. Inmates had been training carrier pigeons to smuggle the goods to them! Read about prison pigeons in Brazil.

Posted in Offbeat, Pigeons! | Leave a comment

Foto Friday: Storks in Alsace-Lorraine

A program to reintroduce the White Stork to the Alsace-Lorraine region of France has been deemed a success. The program was highlighted in a recent Washington Post article.

Here is a picture of stork nests in Munster, in the heart of the region, we took on a recent trip there.

The stork has long been a symbol of the region but the population dwindled down to fewer than nine pairs 25 years ago. It was great to see the bird thriving in Munster. The bird has even inspired a Stork Theme Park nearby. The English page seems to be broken, but check out the pictures on the French page. Yes, that is a stork nest roller coaster pictured in the upper right.

Posted in Europe, Foto Friday (paused) | Leave a comment

The Mystery of the Orange Spoonbill

An orange-colored Eurasian Spoonbill has been spotted on the Dutch Wadden Island of Texel. Eurasian Spoonbills are normally white.

The strangely-colored Spoonbill has been identified by Vogelbescherming, the Dutch partner of BirdLife International, but the reason for its coloring is a mystery. Shrimps, which cause the pinkish coloring in Roseate Spoonbills, Flamingos and other species, are also part of the diet of Eurasian Spoonbills in the Netherlands. However, the birds here normally do not eat the part of the shrimp which gives the coloring. Did this bird eat that part of some shrimp?

The orange Spoonbill was discovered during the height of the Netherlands’s football (soccer) frenzy as they advanced to the second round in the Euro 2008 championship. During this time people decorate their homes, gardens, cars and selves in orange, the national color (from the royal House of Orange). Another theory as to the orange coloring is that this individual bird came in contact with some orange substance – dye, powder, or makeup – and during regular preening managed to spread the coloring over the entire body. If this is the case, was the contact accidental, or did someone deliberately dye this bird Oranje?

Oranje lepelaar op Texel
Logboek at

Posted in Netherlands, Offbeat, Video | Leave a comment

Foto Friday: Rochester Falconcam

This week’s photo was captured back in April. Kaver, the male of the pair of Peregrines at the Rochester Falconcam, relieves his mate Mariah during brooding. There were five eggs and in this picture it looks like that’s one too many for Kaver to cover.

0410-155802 edit
0410-155802 edit by StarWatcher307, Creative Commons on Flickr

The Falconcam is not streaming; the images are refreshed every few moments and viewers can download the images at any time to capture a certain moment. There are five cameras pointed at the scrape Mariah and Kaver use as their nestbox. Today the Falconcam announced on their blog that there will be major construction around the nestbox starting in July so Mariah and Kaver will have to relocate next season. Read about it at Imprints. You can support the Falconcam by purchasing official gear from their CafePress shop, The Scrape. Birdorable also supports the Falconcam with cute Birdorable versions of Mariah and Kaver on t-shirts, gifts and other apparel.

Posted in Foto Friday (paused), Webcams | 2 Comments

Distracted by Common Kestrels

I’ve been spending way too much time watching the birdcams from Vogelbescherming’s Beleef de Lente site lately. Vogelbescherming is the Dutch BirdLife partner and Beleef de Lente roughly translates to Experience Spring.

There are six cams this season. I’ve been most interested in the pair of Common Kestrels (Torenvalken) raising six chicks. The sixth hatch was on 25 May so they should all fledge within about two weeks (typical fledge is 27 to 32 days).

Like the other cams on the site, highlights are mentioned on the left side of the screen so you can catch up on what was missed. The highlights for this nest were the laying of all six eggs (two days apart each) and the hatch dates (between 23 and 25 May).

Highlight videos are linked on the right side of the streaming cam. These are great to watch and sometimes there are cute or funny captions added by the webmaster. You can watch the chicks get ringed (zes torenvalken geringd), a Barn Owl ‘visiting’ the nest box (kerkuil komt weer kijken) and many more.

Common Kestrels get ringed in the Netherlands
eyas-napping in zes torenvalken geringd

Posted in Netherlands, Webcams | Leave a comment