August 20, 2012

Jackdaw rules Dutch cities

Filed under: Animals by Branko Collin @ 11:22 am

The jackdaw (kauw in Dutch) is the most common city bird in the Netherlands, AD reports.

A census held by Sovon shows that of the 375,000 birds counted, 49,000 are jackdaws. Other popular city birds are the blackbird, the wood pigeon, the sparrow and the swift.

The jackdaw population has increased by 15% since 2006, but is only slowly on the rise. In the same timeframe, the Canada Goose has seen an increase of 372%, the stork of 201% and the gadwall of 146%. These are, however, relatively rare birds.

Birds that are rapidly disappearing from cities include the starling (obviously nobody counted birds in front of my favourite seafood store in Amsterdam neighbourhood De Pijp for this one), the robin and the great cormorant, my favourite. Because cormorants need to dive deep for fish, they allow their feathers to get wet. When they sit on lamp posts and in trees, spreading their wings to dry, they look like angels watching over the living.

In Europe, jackdaws are the smallest of the ‘true crows’. You can tell them apart from crows because jackdaws have a shiny, silverish head. They can be domesticated, and indeed we kept one when I was a kid, although keeping them is no longer legal these days. Ours was called Jacky, obviously!

(Photo by Kalle Gustafsson, some rights reserved)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

February 7, 2012

Dutch pigeon sold for record 251,000 euro

Filed under: Animals,Weird by Orangemaster @ 1:15 pm

Last Monday, Dutchman Pieter Veenstra auctioned off 245 pigeons on a Belgian website for over 1.9 million euro, including “the record-breaking hen of the Dolce Vita breed”, which I’m guessing is a huge deal in pigeon land. The bird was bought by a Chinese businessman who plans to use it to breed rather than racing, something that is apparently up and coming in China.

The record breaking price fetched by the bird has sparked a furious debate in the world of pigeon racing, a cult sport in Britain, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany that is not traditionally regarded as a rich man’s pursuit.

However, celebrity-in-the-making, 15-year-old Lloyd Schuilenburg (video in Dutch), aka ‘Duifmeneer’ (‘Pigeon Man’), is not making a fortune off pigeons, but has been trending on Twitter (@deduifmeneer) and even cranked out a carnival song (see below). His thing is making ‘hoo hoo’ (‘hoe hoe’ in Dutch) sounds to ‘steal other people’s pigeons’. Although very charming and entertaining, he’s not taken very seriously due to the nerd factor of his meme, his unfortunate looks and his thick The Hague accent. Schuilenburg is basically popular for no reason at all, and is enjoying the popularity while others make fun of him. It’s a Dutch thing.


Tags: ,