We're taking you under our wing to share some interesting bits about birds and Luxembourg!
Crows in the house!
A recent article talked about crows causing some ruckus in Luxembourg. The City Council plans to take some measures to curb crow numbers in different locations such as Cessange Park, Gasperich, and Merl. The measures include removing nests and trimming tree tops in different parts of the city, mainly for hygiene reasons reasons. The municipality is also exploring alternative methods to allow crows to live in the city without causing any trouble.
To know more about the problem, RTL Today contacted Centre Ornithologique from Natur&Ëmwelt.
First off, the species of crows that are causing the ruckus are called "Rook" (Corvus frugilegus) or "Corbeau freux" in French, Natur&Ëmwelt precised.
The Rooks are very "social species" and "visit their roosts and nesting sites in large groups". These large groups often visit their nests together, the latter often being situated in streets, which then can cause some commotion.
Rook, Corvus frugilegus / © ebird.org
According to Natur&Ëmwelt, many of the nesting sites were destroyed in the past or trees were cut in a way that the birds had displace themselves. Because of this, larger groups have been "split up and dispersed throughout the city of Luxembourg". What's more, the rooks have become "accustomed to city life" and "easily accessible garbage" makes it easier for the birds to find food.
Natur&Ëmwelt precised that we don't have an "overpopulation" of crows, even if it may seem like it.
The solution? Natur&Ëmwelt believes that a "well-developed and, above all, well-implemented management plan" can help solve the problem. According to them, there are two other bird species in the city, "the Peregrine falcon" and the "Eurasian eagle-owl", which are known to hunt Rooks. "Better support and protection of these birds of prey, as well as a better management system of existing nesting sites, can help calm the situation."
Last, but certainly not least, Natur&Ëmwelt confirmed that all wild birds in Luxembourg are protected, as are their eggs and nests.
Difference between crow and raven?
Common raven, Corvus corax / © ebird.org
Many might wonder what the difference is between a crow and a raven... Natur&Ëmwelt helped us in clearing that up! Both crows and ravens are from the same family called "Corvidae".
According to Natur&Ëmwelt "ravens are usually used to describe the birds of this family that are significantly larger than their crow cousins". Nevertheless, "crow" and "raven" are used to describe "all sorts of different bird species of the Corvidae family and have no scientific/taxonomic meaning".
Luxembourg's "Emaischen" festival
A Luxembourgish tradition that happens every year on Easter Monday called "Emaischen". It refers to a traditional festival held in Nospelt and the Fishmarket in the city of Luxembourg. It is a celebration of arts and crafts but the attraction are "Péckvillercher". These are hand-crafted ceramic bird whistles that give off the "tweet" sound of a bird. You will find different shapes and sizes, that give off different sounds!
Be one of the early birds to catch one of the most unique Péckvillchen designs!
Click here to watch a video of the event from the 1950s!
Count your birds
Birdwatcher from Bedford Audubon Society. / © Hillary Eggers
Every year, by the end of January, Natur&Ëmwelt invites the public to devote one hour to counting the birds they see in their gardens. This year, the action takes place this weekend, from the 27-29th of January 2023. The data collected serves as an indicator on bird population across the country and helps determine which bird species are most likely to fly around urban areas.
The deadline for sending in your weekend results is the 7 February 2023! Stay tuned and find out which bird will be the belle of the ball this year! Caw-Caw!
Luxembourg's national bird
Did you know that Luxembourg has its own national bird? In 1960, the International Council for Bird Preservation held its World Conference in Tokyo, Japan. There, every country was asked to pick a national bird that represented their country. Luxembourg decided to pick the "Goldcrest" as its national bird, in order to represent Luxebourg's small size. The Goldcrest is the smallest European bird, but is also known as "the kings of birds." Im-peck-able choice if you ask us!
Birds in Luxembourgish Literature
Some of you might have heard of the famous fable the 'Renert'. Although it has been part of European literary history since the 15th century, Luxembourg's Renert was written by Michel Rodange in the 19th century.
The story is a satirical piece depicting "unique characters of Luxembourg" from that time. The protagonist is the "Renert", who is a sly fox in a tailcoat who is up to no good.
The fable also features a crow, which plays an important role in storming the fox's castle. Without spoiling too much, give it a read yourself!
Read: Renert: Luxembourg's most famous fable and its modern relevance
"Un de Fiederen erkennt een d'Vullen"
Literal translation: You recognize birds by their feathers
Meaning: You recognize people by their clothes
"Schéi Fiedere maache schéi Vullen"
Literal translation: Nice feathers make pretty birds
Meaning: You are what you wear
"En huet Fiedere gelooss"
Literal translation: He left feathers
Meaning: He lost something (ex: money)
"E léisst nach Fiederen hänken"
Literal translation: He will still hang feathers
Meaning: He will lose more in the future/ He'll still make some mistakes in the future
"E kënnt nët aus de Fiederen"
Literal translation: He doesn't come out of the feathers
Meaning: He can't get out of bed
"En huet séng (bescht) Fiedere verluer"
Literal translation: He lost his best feathers
Meaning: He lost some of his glory