Category Archives: Europe

Pelican Living In Friesland, The Netherlands

In the last few days on the Tjeukemeer body of water in Friesland a Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) has been spotted. The bird was first seen in the Netherlands at the beginning of May on the south part of the lake. Meanwhile the pelican has also been spotted on the Wadden Islands Ameland and Terschelling, as well as other parts of Friesland.

The pelican is wild, rather than an escapee. The bird has no ring or marking on the wing which would indicate it came from a zoo. The pelican does not have its full head crown yet, so it is a young bird. It probably became lost or disoriented during the spring migration from Africa, possibly due to inexperience. Pelicans winter in East Africa and spend the summers in the Balkans. The birds normally fly via Israel, when they float over thermal streams to conserve energy. While soaring the bird may have been knocked off course and not noticed something was wrong.

Great White Pelican, Etosha National Park, Namibia
Great White Pelican, Etosha National Park, Namibia by Frank.Vassen, Creative Commons on Flickr

The bird, which eats freshwater species, should be able to survive the summer in the Netherlands, as appropriate food should be available in inland Dutch waters. This case is not the first time a wild pelican has found itself in the Netherlands. Since the first part of the last century, five or six pelicans have been spotted but then moved on.

Source: Pelikaan neergestreken in Friesland

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White-Tailed Eagle Returns To The Netherlands

A pair of white-tailed eagles has successfully hatched chicks in the Oostvaardersplassen. The white-tailed eagle is the largest bird of prey in Europe with a wingspan up to 2.5 meters. Until recently it was thought that the eagle would never breed in the Netherlands again. The closest known breeding pair, prior to the the Oostvaardersplassen birds, breed in Sleeswijk-Holstein, in the north of Germany.

Ten years ago the WWF tried to introduce the eagle back into the Netherlands. The plan faced much criticism and never materialized. The birds in the Oostvaardersplassen have come to the Netherlands of their own volition.

According to forest rangers, who are responsible for the area, the birds have a nest in a willow tree, approximately six meters from the ground. The pair began building the nest in January, and began sitting on eggs in March. The exact number of living chicks is not known. The nest is the first for the female, who was ringed in 2002. The male is an older bird and has already had successful nests.

Source: Zeearend broedt in Nederland

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Gay Storks Raising Young

Three homosexual stork couples in the Dutch zoo Parc Overloon are raising and caring for baby storks, the zoo announced Friday. There is one pair of lesbian storks while the other two couples are males.

While homosexuality is not uncommon in the animal world, the fact that these couples are raising young together is unusual. Most homosexual behavior in wild animals is limited to mating rituals. All of the storks in Overloon are caring for and feeding their young.

The zoo is not sure how the storks, especially the males, came to have eggs. It is possible the male couples stole eggs from another nest.

Source: Homo-ooievaars broeden eieren uit

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Netherlands Black Grouse Population On The Rise

The population of Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) is rising in the Netherlands. This year park rangers and volunteers counted 23 of the bird in the National Park de Sallandse Heuvelrug in the province Overijssel. That’s the highest count in the last six years.

Last year only 13 birds were counted. In 2002 only 8 birds were found.

The Black Grouse is a protected species in the Netherlands and is extremely vulnerable. To preserve the species in this country, the agencies Staatsbosbeheer and Natuurmonumenten have been working together to improve the habitat for the birds.

The preservation agencies are working to improve the variety of plant species found in the heathlands where the birds live and breed. This will insure that insects thrive in the area, which is important for the Black Grouse as their young feed almost exclusively on bugs. Adult grouse feed on grasses, weeds and other plants. Improving the landscape for the grouse also has benefits for other ground-breeding birds, as well as lizards, butterflies, snakes and even deer.


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Posted in Endangered, Netherlands | 1 Comment

Fewer Dead Birds Reported In Netherlands

The Dutch central organization for animal sickness control, CIDC-Lelystad, is receiving fewer dead bird reports. In the past few months the organization has examined 6,382 birds for the deadly H5N1 virus.

Because most migratory birds are now at their summer location, the chance of finding the virus in the Netherlands this season is very small. For this reason, the organization will only examine dead birds when found in groups of 20 or more. In the case of swans, ducks or geese, a group of 3 or more will be examined.

Source: Rustiger tijden na hoos dode vogels

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Bird Hide Created For Wheelchair Users

The Dutch organization Natuurmonumenten has created a bird hide which is accessible for wheelchair users, in cooperation with the Friese Poort College in Drachten. The hide is located by the Zuidwest (southwest) lakes in the Fochteloërveen natural area.

The construction is large enough to be sure that wheelchair users can move around the hide easily. The lookout points are on different levels so wheelchair users can use them as well as bird enthusiasts who arrive on foot.

Four students worked for approximately two months to build the hide, which was tested by wheelchair users and a forest ranger soon after it opened. Some users reported difficulty entering the hut, so the students will adjust the doorway for better future use.

The Fochteloërveen is already equipped with a wheelchair accessible path and observation tower. Natuurmonumenten is organizing an excursion to the park for wheelchair users on 17 June.


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Green Heron Attracts Birdwatchers To Amsterdam

A Green Heron (Butorides virescens) which has settled in the Nieuwe Meer area of Amsterdam has attracted hundreds of birdwatchers from neighboring countries. Since the first confirmed sighting on Friday, 28 April, twitchers from all over the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany have come to see the bird.

The heron is a native of North America. The species is smaller than the native Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea ) of the Netherlands. The bird has settled along a ditch in the Nieuwe Meer area in the southwest of Amsterdam.

The bird, which is not ringed, has arrived from North America due to disorientation or unusually strong winds during migration, or the bird has “hitchhiked” to Europe on a ship.

Source: Groene reiger in Amsterdam trekt veel bekijks

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Turkish Doves ‘Join’ EU – Before Turkey

Three species of dove will be registered as uniquely “Turkish Species” in the coming weeks. The birds will be registered with the EU’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, thus joining the European Union before Turkey itself. The registration comes after three years of joint cooperation between the Eurasian Dove Cultural Association and Bursa’s Animal Health Office of the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture. Read Mehmet Kuru’s story Turkish Doves to Access EU Before Turkey at Zaman Online.

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The Year Of The Eurasian Skylark

Dutch bird protection groups SOVON and Vogelbescherming have named 2006 the Year of the Skylark (Alauda arvensis). The Skylark population in the country is declining due to decimation of habitat. The bird agencies will conduct a study in 2006 on the population of the species in the Netherlands. The groups hope the study will inspire action to save the Dutch Skylark population. The groups are seeking volunteers to help in a nation-wide Skylark count.

Source: Het jaar van de Veldleeuwerik 2006

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Posted in Endangered, Netherlands | Leave a comment