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)

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April 19, 2011

Stork shorts North Eastern grid, survives with burns

Filed under: Animals by Branko Collin @ 8:55 pm

Radio Netherlands reports:

A stork building its nest in an electricity substation caused a power failure in the south of the province of Drenthe and the north of the province of Overijssel on Sunday. […] About 60,000 homes were left without power for a brief period. The stork reportedly fell on one of the transformers in the substation, causing it to short-circuit. The nest caught fire. The stork sustained burns but survived the accident.

According to De Telegraaf, Dutch Rail has ‘adopted’ the stork. The company will donate 1000 euros to ‘stork station’ De Lokkerij, where the animal is recovering currently. The paper calls the stork Fikkie, which is a pet name for dogs, but also means ‘fire’.

(Photo by Hidde de Vries, some rights reserved)