Dawn awakening



Family outings: Last weekend a brave set of kids learned about the variety of birds that migrate through the Grand Duchy, write Mikis Bastian and Marie Kayser.

Have you ever tried to convince your kids to get up before dawn on a Sunday morning to learn about science and nature conservation? On a cold and damp autumn day in Luxembourg? All of this voluntarily? Doesn’t sound too appealing, does it? But that’s exactly what the natur&ëmwelt English-speaking section did.

We invited our youngest members to come to a bird-ringing event that was held in the nature protection area “Haff Remich” in Remerschen on Sunday October 6.

It might have been a bit of a gamble, but it certainly paid off in the end. Fifteen kids managed to find their way to the far southeastern corner of Luxembourg.

Throughout the entire morning, a total of 127 birds were ringed, measured and set free again, so that they could continue their migration south. To many kids’ surprise (and probably just as many adults’), some of our most common birds aren’t anywhere near as dull or boring as you might think: starlings shine in all kinds of colours, while even your everyday robin turns out to have uncounted different nuances of greenish grey and brown... not to mention that it is just incredibly cute.

While the birds were the unquestioned stars of the event, kids also learnt about bird migration and the importance of wetlands, such as Haff Remich. This nature reserve serves as a migration stopover site, where birds can rest for a couple of days and replenish their energy levels before continuing further south.

It was also a great chance to get a close-up insight into the activities of ornithologists and the science of bird-ringing, which helps us understand the migration patterns and behaviours of our birds.

This just shows that science and outdoor activities in nature actually can be fun, even if it does mean that you have to get up really early on a rainy Sunday morning.

So keep your eyes open for future youth events organised by the natur&ëmwelt English-speaking section. And if birds or getting up at ridiculously early hours in the morning just aren’t your thing, you can always have a go at butterflies or amphibians: their peak activity times tend to be much later during the day.

Mikis Bastian and Marie Kayser are volunteers with the natur&ëmwelt English-speaking section. For information about the group’s future activities, visit its event calendar or email [email protected].