Urdaibai, a paradise for spoonbills!

Thursday, 02 November 2023 11:59


A very interesting visitor arrived in Urdaibai on October the 8th after a long and tiring flight. Her name is Vrouwke (ND3X) and she is a juvenile spoonbill from Hoeckelingsdam, in the Netherlands. This young bird, rather than continuing her journey south, has remained in Urdaibai for the last month, demonstrating what a perfect place this is for spoonbills.

WPN Vrouwke3

We know that she has been present here during this period, not only because of the ID ring on her leg but also because she carries a GPS device on her back. All her movements are being tracked.

vrouwke map

Vrouwke is part of a project which aims to answer some of the many questions which remain about migration. How do inexperienced birds know where to go on their very first migration? Is the route coded in their genes, or do birds learn the route by following experienced adults? Finding answers to these questions is very important if we want to understand how rapidly birds can adjust their migration routes when their environment changes. If areas that they use during migration become unsuitable, how quickly can they adapt? What happens if improved protection makes other places suitable? 

To find out more about this project you can click here: NIOZ

It is interesting to see how Vrouwke's journey has evolved. Starting her south bound journey on September 27th she arrived in the Basque Country on October 8th. She found the perfect place to feed, rest and recover in the Gautegiz Arteaga marshes and remained in this area for almost 2 weeks. On the 24th October she began to explore further afield and flew out to the Urdaibai estuary. Since then she has been making continual round trips. She eats on the open mudflats at low tide and then returns to the Gautegiz Arteaga marshes to rest and continue eating, given that the water in this are remains shallow. All the details of her movements are shown in the video below.

On the 27th of October Vrouwke took a trip to Balmaseda for reasons we cannot explain but she soon returned to Urdaibai. It is clear that this is an idyllic place for her. We are excited to see whether she will stay here in  winter or move further south.

WPN paraiso

Vrouwke's journey connects people and habitats along the flyway. We know that people from Durgerdam in the Netherlands are following her progress with enthusiasm. Vrouwke is named after a much loved woman from this village. We send everyone who lives there a greeting and we assure them that here in Urdaibai, the spoonbills are in paradise.



Link para seguir a Vrouwke; Animal tracker 



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