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Vinkenbaan all for the birds (and birders)
Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill
KENNEMERDUINEN - Birding is alive and well in the Netherlands. The so-called vinkenbaan or vinkenbanen (birding centres)in plural are no longer places where small birds are caught as delicacies for the menus of the well-to-do burgers, but sites where volunteers study, document and ring their temporary catch before releasing them again. One such facility, the Cornelis van Lennep vinkenbaan has caught and documented in the past 52 years well over 300,000 birds, representing 177 different species. Volunteers are sometimes surprised to catch bird varieties which literally fly below the human radar screen. Birds ringed at the Van Lennep have been found in Norway, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, victims of traffic and window collisions, of cats and other predators, and hunters. The Dutch coastal dunes region, particularly at North Holland estates, often the summer destination of the well-to-do, has a long history of birding. Nearly every estate was outfitted with a vinkenbaan. Road names and residential districts remind people of these facilities of which there are only a few remaining in operation for research. A vinkenbaan can be called a haven for birds and birders. Some of the birding activities can be followed online: www.trektellen.nl and at www.dutchbirding.nl (as well a treasure trove of photographs). The latter also publishes a dedicated magazine, billed as one of the leading ones in its field in the world. All for the birds (and birders).