Something that has always been there, but which you might not have noticed so strongly until now, are the many birds that are always busy nesting around the Netherlands.
Birdwatching has become a more popular pastime for Dutchies — and with the coronavirus lockdowns having traumatised all of us to the core, we now relish the moments where we can spend time in the great outdoors, reflecting and observing the nature around us.
Online resources to get you started
Vogelbescherming Nederland (Bird Protection Netherlands) is an agency for all things bird-related in the Netherlands.
This organisation was one of the first to notice the heightened attention and awareness that people had about birds during the first infamous coronavirus lockdowns (many moons ago).
Bird Protection has even provided a free online course (in Dutch) for those interested in getting to know the birds in their backyards a little better and the beautiful songs they make.
Nevertheless, we’ve also decided to compile our own list of some birds you might be seeing in your backyard — or perhaps even from your kleine balcony!
Crows, ravens, and other corvids
Crows and ravens have a bad reputation as omens of death, but these cheeky birds are actually one of the most intelligent animals out there. Both problem-solvers and tool-users, observing these birds are bound to surprise you.
These birds are all part of the greater family of corvids, which includes other birds such as the magpie, jackdaws, and blue jays.
Crows are social animals, and you will see them hanging out in trees (probably judging you for your fashion sense). Ravens, on the other hand, are cool solitary animals that either hang out alone or in small groups of up to three.
You can distinguish them by size and feathers. Crows are smaller, and their feathers are compact on their body, while ravens are much bigger, and their feathers are more all over the place and fuzzy around the chest area.
If you have some crows hanging out in your backyard, it might be a good idea to feed them.
If they like you enough, they might even come back to you with little shiny gifts in exchange for the food you offered. (We’re not joking. It happened to a little girl that’s been getting gifts from crows for many years).
Listen, seagulls are deceptive and evil animals. Under no circumstance attempt to feed a seagull. Why, you may ask? Because the seagull will impolitely swoop down and steal the food you wanted to give to it anyways (ungrateful vultures 😑).
Seagulls are not hard to miss, because they are quite big birds. They’re very recognisable by their distinct sound, which transports everyone who hears it to Miami during the ’80s while wearing Hawaiian shirts.
Overall, the only enjoyable moment you might encounter with a seagull is when you can get a good laugh out when it swoops down and steals somebody else’s food.
You might have noticed a bird in your garden that isn’t exactly one you would expect to find — more like a bird that seems to have escaped from someone’s home.
The green-feathered and red-beaked parakeet isn’t even a native species but was actually introduced accidentally somewhere at the end of the 20th Century.
Make no mistake, these parrots are not pets but actually full-fledged wild animals. Nevertheless, if you put some seeds in your bird feeder, they will be more than happy to keep you company.
The house sparrow
Tiny, adaptable, and full of sounds, the house sparrow is actually the most widespread bird in the Netherlands, despite its population falling by half since 1980.
The sparrow species is actually quite renowned in the Netherlands, but not just for being the most common bird in Dutch gardens. Ever heard of Domino Day? Well, this little fellow plays a major role in one ridiculous yet tragic event.
You’ll find this bird in a lot of places in urban settings, and you surely must have had some visiting your garden. Another way to recognise them, besides their tiny bodies, is through their chirping.
That sums up our list of birds you can watch in your garden. There are plenty more to talk to, but we’ll leave that for you to explore.
Are there any birds you think should be on the list? Tell us in the comments below! 👇
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2020, and was fully updated in August 2022 for your reading pleasure.