Category Archives: Europe

Storks Shun Sahel, Stay In Spain

Spanish storks no longer take the effort to migrate to Africa for the winter. Other migratory birds are returning to the Iberian Peninsula earlier in the spring from their winter habitats in Africa.

Birdwatchers have counted 30,000 storks that overwintered in Spain. Normally storks travel to the Sahel area in Africa for the winter. The supply of food for the birds has remained healthy in Spain so there was no reason for the storks to leave.

Spanish scientists have also noted that fewer birds are migrating from Northern Europe to the Iberian Peninsula for the winter. Last season it was noted in one park that the number of ducks, storks and seagulls spending the winter months was about half the usual population.

Source: Ooievaars blijven in Spanje

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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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Malta Ignores EU, Allows Hunting

Since joining the EU in 2004 Malta has allowed the hunting of Turtle Doves and Quails, against the European Birds Directive. Hunting during the Spring migration is prohibited by the EU.

The European Commission began legal action against Malta in June 2006, with the case expected before court later this year. Malta’s hunting season is scheduled to end on May 20th. BirdLife in Malta reported illegal hunting outside the official season earlier this year.

Read more about Malta’s breach of EU law and the effect on migratory birds.

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Posted in Europe, Law | 1 Comment

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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UK Birds Abandon Gardens For Country

Results from the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Big Garden Birdwatch revealed a decline in back yard birds across the island nation. Resident and migrant birds have abandoned residential gardens for wilder areas.

The RSPB believes the mild winter across Europe resulted in fewer birds migrating to the UK and more birds feeding in the countryside.

The House Sparrow was the top back yard bird with just under 4.5 per garden.

Read more about the Big Garden Birdwatch.

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British Birders To Guard Godwit Nests

Four Black-tailed Godwits, an endangered species across Europe, have been nesting in the Ribble Estuary of Lancashire for the past decade. The two pairs are due to return to the nesting grounds soon, and when they do, they’ll be under the watchful eye of a group of volunteers.

Godwits are endangered due to loss of habitat but also because their beautiful eggs are prized by collectors who steal them. The Fylde Bird Club is working with the RSPB to guard the two Lancashire nests 24 hours a day to ensure the eggs will reach maturity.

Read more about the egg protection plan.

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Dutch Province Authorizes Goose Hunt

The province of Zuid Holland in the Netherlands has given permission to fauna management to shoot geese outside of protected areas. Permission was granted considering the overpopulation of geese in the province are causing significant damage to agriculture.

The fauna management group consists of landowners, forest rangers and hunters. Besides shooting, the group was also given permission to capture geese and shake eggs. Shaken eggs do not hatch and when they are replaced in the nest the geese will not produce more eggs.

Source: Provincie geeft toestemming voor afschieten ganzen

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Dutch Town Taking On Gulls

The Dutch town of Katwijk is urging residents to take measures against seagulls nesting town rooftops. The relatively mild winter is coming to an end and experts say the gulls’ breeding season could start early this year.

Advice on the Katwijk city website advises residents to take a stroll on flat rooftops a few times per week to deter gulls from nesting there. Plastic raptors or owl statues are also suggested as a means of scaring off potential nesters. Laying wires or nets may also ward off the gulls.

Source: Katwijkers het dak op tegen nestelende meeuwen

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Frisian Lapwing Egg Thievery Continues

Friesland in the Netherlands is the only area in the EU where the plundering of Lapwing nests is not only allowed but encouraged. The tradition of finding, stealing and then eating the first found egg of the year is rewarded by local government.

The first Frisian Lapwing egg of 2007 was found by Christiaan Noordhuis of Bolsward on Wednesday, March 7.

At 6pm Wednesday evening a representative of the Queen, Ed Nilpels, followed protocol by accepting the first Lapwing egg at the Leeuwarden provincial hall. Nijpels must eat the egg according to tradition. Noordhuis’ reward for the egg: EUR 15.

Source: Bolswarder vindt eerste Friese kievitsei

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White-tailed Eagles Return To Oostvaardersplassen

The pair of White-tailed Eagles that successfully fledged a chick last year in the Oostvaardersplassen in the Netherlands has returned. They were the first White-tailed Eagles to breed in the Netherlands since the Middle Ages.

The pair are busy preparing the nest which they used last year. A webcam has been placed on the nest so visitors will be able to observe the birds. The exact location of the nest has not been revealed to the public and the area remains inaccessible so as to not disturb the birds. The webcam will be broadcast on the website from 08 March.

The pair successfully fledged one chick last year. The young eagle is living close to the area it was born and has been spotted around the Oosvaardersplassen throughout the seasons. The sex of the bird is unknown.

The Oostvaardersplassen is an ideal area for the eagles to breed as they can remain all year. They usually sustain on fish but in the winter if the fish supply is diminished they will also feed on deer carcasses.

Source: Zeearenden nestelen weer in Oostvaardersplassen

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Posted in Netherlands | 1 Comment