Category Archives: Netherlands

Eurasian Griffon Vulture Invasion Continues

Yesterday sightings of Eurasian Griffon Vultures continued to pour in from throughout the Netherlands.

Sightings Tuesday came from seven provinces: Noord Brabant, Noord Holland, Gelderland, Utrecht, Zuid Holland, Friesland and Limburg. The most sightings noted on (also in English) were in Noord Brabant. In all over 100 different sightings were recorded throughout the day.

Source: Vale gieren blijven hangen in Brabant

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Eurasian Griffon Vultures Invade Holland

Last Sunday a large group of Eurasian Griffon Vultures was spotted in Belgium. On Monday the first birds, a group of 40, flew over the Dutch border. Many more followed.

It is highly unusual to have such a large group of these raptors in the Lowlands. The vultures that have been spotted in the Netherlands normally live in southern Spain.

In 2003 a group of 18 Eurasian Griffon Vultures were seen in Holland. Over Tilburg earlier this week a group of as many as 60 individuals was noted, and another group of approximately 50 birds was seen at about the same time in Zeeland.

Thousands of breeding vulture pairs live in the Spanish Pyrenees. The Spanish birds are struggling to find food in their native land. Due to new EU regulations, cattle cadavers may no longer be left outside to deteriorate naturally. The scavenger birds have been venturing outside of their normal habitat in a desperate search for food.

In May Spanish media reported that starving vultures in the Burgos province were attacking living cattle. In one case a hundred vultures killed a cow and calf. The Dutch BirdLife group does not expect the same to happen in Holland, although the 2003 invaders did kill several young storks.

Dutch birdwatchers have been out in force, noting their sightings of the rare birds at (also available in English) and causing site response time problems due to high traffic. Birders can note the time and place of a sighting, number of birds seen and include GPS coordinates, photos and comments with their sightings.

Source: De gieren komen eraan!

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Buzzards Attack Pedestrians

A pair of Common Buzzards has been causing problems for pedestrians, joggers and cyclists visiting or passing the KNVB sport park in Zeist, the Netherlands. Earlier this month a jogger was attacked by the birds and suffered a head wound where one of the birds’ talons made contact.

The buzzard pair has a nest nearby with recently hatched chicks. The parent birds aggressively protect their territory if they feel their nest is under threat.

A speed cyclist, Henk Kools from Waspik, was also attacked by the birds as he rode past the area. The attack left him with three wounds in his neck and a deep scratch in his helmet.

The local government planned to put up signs to warn people visiting the area.

Source: Buizerds vallen passanten aan

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Dutch Pigeon Fancier Performs Illegal Vaccinations

A pigeon fancier from the Dutch province of Gelderland has been questioned in connection with illegal vaccinations performed on racing and hobby pigeons. The man was caught red-handed by agents from the Dutch Agriculture Ministry last week.

The man presented himself as a veterinarian to fellow pigeon fanciers and told the authorities that he performed over 12,000 vaccinations per year at a cost of EUR 0.55 per bird.

The birds, belonging to more than fifty different owners, were vaccinated against the paramyxovirus. Pigeons are required to have this injection annually, but it must be done by a trained veterinarian.

The man has been charged with violating animal medicine statutes and with forgery for providing documents to the pigeon owners proving their birds had been vaccinated. A veterinary practice, which may have provided supplies to the accused man, is also being investigated in connection with the case.

Source: Duivenhouder doet zich voor als dierenarts

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Unused Tower Becomes Common Swift Apartment Complex

Conservation group ‘De Krimpenerwaard’ of the Netherlands is planning a unique project to help the local Common Swift population. Eighty swift nest boxes have been placed on an unused fire department tower in the village of Krimpen aan den IJssel.

The program is unique in the Netherlands. The group hopes that the nest boxes will encourage a large colony of breeding swifts to make the tower their home. The artificial nesting sites are needed because new home construction methods leave few traditional nesting sites for the birds.

The group began placing the nest boxes on the tower in 2005. The nest boxes were opened for the swift population in May 2007.

SOURCE: Brandweertoren wordt ‘gierzwaluwflat’

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Cormorant Numbers Declining In Dutch Wetland

In the past few decades the number of Cormorants in the Naardermeer wetland area of northern Holland has declined dramatically. In the 1980’s there were five thousand pairs of birds breeding in the area. Today there are just over 1000 pairs.

Cormorants brood in colonies in the Naardermeer area. They feed in deeper water, such as the Markermeer, which has become too turbulent for the birds to fish and hunt.

According to experts, the mass exodus from the Nardermeer by Cormorants has little impact on the Dutch population as a whole. In other areas the number of breeding pairs has increased, leaving the population of Cormorants in the Netherlands relatively stable.

Cormorants dive up to twenty meters below the water’s surface to search for food. The bird lacks the glossy fat that most diving ducks have, which allows it to dive deep underwater but leaves the birds soaking wet upon returning to the surface. Therefore when they are done feeding, Cormorants need to dry their feathers, which they do by standing with their wings spread-eagle in the sun and wind.

Source: Aalscholvers vertrekken massaal uit het Naardermeer

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New Dutch Reserve Area Ready For Breeding Birds

The Dutch environmental group Natuurmonumenten has prepared an area in the Voorsterbos woods of Flevoland as an idea breeding zone for birds. The area, called Zwarte Hoek, or Black Corner, is 28 hectares.

Over the past winter excavating machines released water into the area. Over 26,000 square meters of earth was moved in order to make shallow ponds and streams – ideal feeding grounds for wading birds.

Visitors can view the new area from a bird hide placed on the Zwartemeerdijk.

Source: Zwarte Hoek na aanpassingen optimaal voor weidevogels

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Dutch Hatchlings Too Late For Caterpillars

The butterfly season in the Netherlands began about three weeks earlier than normal due to record high spring temperatures. Migratory birds that breed in the Netherlands will hatch their chicks too late to feed on caterpillars, and may suffer from lack of suitable food.

Information about the butterfly situation was published by a group from the Wageningen University that prepares a Nature Calendar each year. The calendar is used to report the progress of certain species.

Migratory birds like wheatears, cuckoos and swallows rely on abundant supplies of caterpillars each spring to feed their young. Most baby birds will hatch too late this year, after the caterpillars have already become butterflies.

Source: Jonge vogels missen rupsen

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Success! Dutch White-tailed Eagles Hatch Again

On Sunday rangers at the state-run nature area Oostvaardersplassen discovered that the White-tailed Eagle couple has successfully hatched at least one chick for the second year in a row.

The hatching comes just days after the webcam pointed at the camera lost connection. Rangers observing the nest over the weekend were, by a stroke of luck, able to see the head of a chick sticking out from the nest to confirm the hatching. The chick has made its appearance about a week earlier than expected.

The eagle parents successfully fledged one chick last year; that young bird is now summering in the Oostvaardersplassen, but is not welcome at its former birth place.

The camera, used by visitors to the natural area and online visitors, as well as raptor researchers, became unavailable on Friday the 13th. Rangers believe the lens is obscured by a snail or a leaf, but they will not risk disturbing the birds in order to investigate. Rangers may be able to get a look at the camera in the coming weeks, but making a visit to the camera will be impossible until much later in the year, when the baby chick(s) has fledged and the parents have temporarily abandoned the nest. The webcam was visited by up to 25,000 internet visitors per day.

Source: Jonge zeearend geboren in Oostvaardersplassen

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Camera On White-tailed Eagle Nest Bounty For Researchers

The Dutch nature agency Staatsbosbeheer is using images from the camera they placed on a White-tailed Eagle nest over the winter to learn more about these large birds of prey. Experts and scientists are discovering new information about their nesting habits and look forward to learning about the fledge once the hatchlings emerge from the nest in the Oostvaardersplassen natural area.

Researchers have been surprised to discover that the female is more restless than the male when sitting on the nest. The male and female take turns keeping the nest warm and searching for food.

The camera has also revealed that the eagle born there last year has not returned to the nest. He has been observed hunting in the vicinity, from the same waters as his parents.

Viewers of the nest cam can see the parent bird sitting on the nest, but a view of the eggs inside is not possible. Since the camera was erected over the winter, the birds have increased the size of the nest and the edge is now 50 centimeters higher than before.

Source: Staatsbosbeheer leert van beelden broedende zeearenden

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