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Spoonbills ringed on Terschelling, the Netherlands


Ringing spoonbills on Terschelling

The summer has begun and so the Waddensee is populated with birds. On Terschelling that is quite noticeable. Many migratory birds have settled to feed and rest. As has the spoonbill!  For the island it is a special and striking bird. In the early spring we wait patiently to see this white bird with distinctive beak and long legs reappear.  The spoonbill breeds and forages on the island and continues her journey in the autumn to proceed to Spain and Africa.

The spoonbill breeds among others on the Boschplaat. This is the most eastern part of the island. The Boschplaat is a unique and valuable place where many migratory birds rest, find space, enough food and where nature can be undisturbed. This is one of the reasons the Boschplaat received the status of European nature reserve in 1970.

Every year we have between 100 – 200 breeding pairs of the spoonbill. In addition to spoonbills

Spoonbill chick

Spoonbill chick

many other birds are located here including many gulls, plovers and terns. On Terschelling the birds are protected during the nesting. So is the Boschplaat during breeding to a large extent closed for visitors.

Two weeks ago, a number of spoonbills were ringed on the Boschplaat. For science analytics (food research and sex determination) also blood samples were taken. This was just after a summer storm.

Pair of Spoonbills

Pair of Spoonbills

Unfortunately some young spoonbills were found dead. They did not survive the summer storm. They were not strong enough yet to defy the strong wind and havey rain. Fortunately, most nests were still intact and had just hatched! This resulted in beautiful pictures made by Freek Zwart. And who knows, these ringed spoonbills might visit some of you in autumn! If so, we hope to hear from you. To get an impression here are some pictures and we hope you enjoy it, just like we do.

With kind regards,

SBB Terschelling

The Netherlands

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