Category Archives: Netherlands

Meadow Birds Declining In Holland

The number of meadow birds in the Netherlands continues to decrease. Birds like Godwits and Lapwings are found less and less in the wet areas of Holland. Swans and geese, on the other hand, are doing very well.

The figures were published last week by Wetlands International. According to the foundation, the situation in the Netherlands is worrisome, but not as grave as in other parts of the world. The decline of meadow birds is occurring in more places, but a definitive cause is not known. Without knowing the cause of the decline, the group has difficulty proposing solutions.

It is possible that an increased use of pesticides has decimated the insect population enough to affect the bird population. Geese and swans live on grass and other vegetation, which thrives when pesticides are used.

Globally the numbers of water fowl are not as promising. The global waterfowl population has decreased 44% in the last five years. The situation is especially grim in Asia, where the number of protected areas is declining. Fowl numbers there have decreased by two-thirds.

Weidevogels lijden, zwanen en ganzen profiteren
World’s waterbirds in decline, study warns

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Netherlands Wildfowl Illegally Shot

Approximately 25 waterfowl on the Dinkel in Twente, the Netherlands, were found illegally shot last week. The majority of corpses found were those of geese, all of which had been filleted after being shot.

On Monday 15 January, hikers found the cadavers spread over a kilometer along the banks of the Dinkel. The geese and ducks were killed with shot. The killers filleted the birds for their meat and dumped the decimated corpses in or next to the water. The police are seeking witnesses.

Source: Stropers schieten tientallen watervogels in Twente

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Mild Winters Increase Kingfisher Numbers

Kingfishers in the Netherlands are doing exceptionally well due to the recent mild winters. In the Dutch language they are called ijsvogels, which means ice birds. Despite that name, the birds do not fare well in cold winters.

Ten years ago the population of Kingfishers in the Netherlands consisted of only 150 breeding pairs. Today there are several hundred.

Source: IJsvogel rukt op dankzij zachte winters

Kingfisher, Mere Sands Wood, July 2009
Kingfisher, Mere Sands Wood, July 2009 by Gidzy, Creative Commons on Flickr

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Gull Causes Amsterdam Traffic Chaos

A low-flying gull caused chaos on the A28 highway in the Netherlands last weekend. A 34-year-old motorist from Amsterdam swerved to avoid the animal, causing a traffic accident.

The swerving driver drove into the ditch resulting in the car becoming a total loss. The driver suffered head wounds.

The gull did not survive the incident.

Source: Overvliegende meeuw veroorzaakt ravage

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Whooper Swan Newest Dutch Breeding Bird

In 2006 the Netherlands gained not only the White-tailed Eagle as a new local breeder, but also the Whooper Swan.

Whooper Swans have been winter guests in the Netherlands for years. Every fall Whoopers come to the Netherlands from the north to spend the winter months. By the end of March most have flown back to their breeding homes in the north and northeast of Europe.

In 2005 a Whooper Swan nest was found in the province of Drenthe. Though four eggs were laid, none lived to hatch. In 2006 the nest was used again. This time, two chicks survived to fledge.

Source: Wilde zwaan nieuwe broedvogel in Nederland

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Amsterdam Airport’s Lapwing Problem

Around Amsterdam’s airport, Schiphol, approximately 25,000 birds have settled and seem to be planning nesting activities. That is about 20 percent more than normal.

To drive the birds, mostly lapwings, off, authorities have placed dogs in the fields around the airport. Loudspeakers playing recordings of lapwings in distress have also been placed around the airport in an effort to drive the birds away. The lapwings have migrated from northern Europe and remain in the Netherlands this year due to unseasonably warm temperatures.

Landing and departing aircraft can suffer from damage if the birds fly into the windows or engines.

The grass in the fields around the airport will remain unmowed in an effort to make the birds feel less comfortable.

Source: Schiphol verjaagt kieviten

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Camera Placed By Dutch White-tailed Eagle Nest

Forest managers have placed a small camera by the White-tailed Eagle nest in the Oostvaardersplassen in Flevoland. The birds’ successful nest last year amazed park rangers and was great news for birdwatchers in the Netherlands.

The Oostvaardersplassen received a lot of visitors intent on seeing the birds. However, park rangers kept the location of the nest secret, to avoid disturbing the birds. Rangers themselves stayed clear of the nest and only learned several weeks after hatching that one chick survived to fledge.

Rangers placed a remote camera in the tree by the nest. Eagle pairs are known to use the same nest over many years but do not use the nest over the winter months, so the camera was placed without disturbing the birds. Images from the camera will be viewable from the visitor center at Oostvaardersplassen and via the internet.

Already the eagle pair has been seen making repairs and improvements to the nest. Last spring the couple, a young female and older male, raised one chick to adulthood. Remarkable was the fact that it was the female’s first nest. First nests rarely produce a successful offspring.

Source: Camera op zeearendnest

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Dutch Study Feral Rose-Ringed Parakeets

Dutch bird researchers hope to learn more about how local groups of feral Rose-Ringed Parakeets survive the cold winters of the Netherlands. The parakeets have lived wild in the Netherlands since 1968.

The first wild birds were noticed in the Ockenburg area of the Hague in 1968. Today large populations of the birds live around big cities like Amsterdam and the Hague and outlying urban areas. We have seen them around Leiden as well.

Source: Landelijke telling van halsbandparkieten

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House Sparrow Tops Dutch Garden Bird Count

Volunteers counted back yard birds throughout the Netherlands last weekend and the winner again this year is the House Sparrow.

The top three birds remained the same as last year: 1) House Sparrow; 2) Great Tit; and 3) Blackbird.

The one newcomer to this year’s list is the Wood Pigeon, replacing the Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

Source: Huismus weer meest gezien

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus indicus)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus indicus) by Lip Kee, Creative Commons on Flickr

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More Birds Breeding In Dutch ‘Harderbos’

It was revealed that this year three new bird species have been breeding in the forest ‘Broekbos’, part of the larger Harderbos natural area in Flevoland, the Netherlands. At least 61 different species are known to raise chicks in the woods.

Of the 61 species of birds breeding in the Broekbos, twelve of them are rare or endangered, including Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Bearded Reedling (Panurus biarmicus).

Forest management for the woods has made the environment more appealing for birds by increasing the amount of water in the area. Forest workers have also repaired the reedbed to make more enticing habitat. Because of efforts like this, the Bearded Reedling has increased from one breeding pair to five breeding pairs in three years.

The Broekbos has also been successful in appealing to migratory birds to use the area as a stopping off point during their trek. In October and November this year 375 Red-Crested Pochards were counted in the waters of Broekbos, which accounts for about 2% of the global population.

Natuurmonumenten has created four routes for visitors to walk through the Broekbos, ranging from 2.5 to 9.5 kilometers. Because the trails can be wet, it is recommended to wear waterproof shoes or boots. There is one bird hide along the routes.


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