Watch the birdie(s): webcams capture the spring rituals of birds

A barn owl checks out the nestbox

Bird protection organisation Vogelbescherming has switched on its webcams again to capture sleeping owls, the first eggs and fledgling families for the 16th edition of Experience Spring.

Apart from live events, viewers can enjoy recorded highlights including a preening blackbird , a pair of sea eagles repairing their nest and little owls just larking about.

The spring mating and nesting rituals were followed by some 1.7 million people last year, with most people watching daily , Vogelbescherming said.

Most species are making a comeback this year, including blackbirds, sea eagles, owls, storks, tits and many more. In addition a camera installed in a wetland area is capturing the activities of black-tailed godwits, lapwings and skylarks.

The cameras will stay in place until June or July when most fledglings will have flown the nest.

The beginning of March also saw the start of the fish doorbell in Utrecht, which is fast becoming another spring tradition.

Thousands of fish make the journey upstream in the river Vecht each spring but because the gates of the Weerdsluis lock were not opened frequently enough, the fish were facing long waits in the city’s Oudegracht.

To remedy this, Utrecht local council and the local water board installed a camera which live streamed the goings-on under water. People who spotted a waiting fish could ring the bell and alert the lock keeper who would receive screenshots of the fish and then open the gates to let them through.

Some 32,000 people rang the bell in the first two weeks of the scheme last year. Over 100,000 people in total rang the bell and the live stream attracted two million visitors.

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