Everything in the Netherlands always revolves around as many pills as possible, including the forgotten virus crisis

Twin Heijmans

Drowsiness, phlegm, signs of the virus are known, confusion and death. Victims fall from the sky and then lie there as if drugged, or go around the gardens, on the street, on the embankment, pulling their necks. There is not much to do but his heart.

Elke Jan and Rinaldo say the virus has never spread like this before. The winter months are usually quiet, but rebuilding the Fûgelpits Bird Sanctuary will have to wait for the winged flu. Every day they pick up sick animals from fields and villages, even if they can no longer be saved. Again and again, Reinaldo Corst wears his clothes, gloves, mouthpieces and shoe covers, afraid to take the virus with him. “It is a nervous disorder” – and a sad video of a twenty-year-old falcon, shaking its head helplessly, was brought in by a concerned farmer. “And now he is already in the fox.”


Rinaldo Corst removes goose barnacles outside the dam.Statue of Marcel van Kamen

Sometimes pedestrians come to the fence, goose careless barnacles in their arms, full of pollution. This is why the gate is now closed. It’s scary, says Eelke Jan Wiersma, “When people call, they ask more questions: Where are they, how many are there, who’s close. We say stay away from them. It’s hard: such a goose does nothing anymore, makes no sound, they They prefer picking her up for a hug.

It’s a forgotten pandemic, somewhat ignored by others, although fears are great that the virus will spread. On foxes, seals and otters. on the man. Avian influenza led to well-known reports in the newspaper for several months: thousands of animals were culled in Company A, many thousands in Company B, carriages banned here and there. Once again there is a debate about intensive poultry farming – no farmer wanted to tell me about the tragedy of the execution.

At the same time, it is unclear how many wild animals are infected, where exactly and which species. The bird sanctuary does not provide any numbers, nor does it ask them to. The NVWA has reported a few sick birds for this area: goose barnacles, eleven swans, and Shelduck, while they have already deposited four hundred in Fûgelpits.

The storm swept away noticeably many dead geese on Monday, and the Water Authority was busy removing them, but it’s unclear if the virus is being tested. Behind the sea wall is the rescue center: three generations of Wiersma, starting with Eelke Jan’s grandmother, have been saving birds for more than forty years. Each year they stockpile about 2,500 animals, sometimes twice that, for release again at a later time.

But nothing helps fight bird flu. “We mostly get them out of their misery ourselves,” Elk Jan says, “we sometimes go to the vet.” Rinaldo: It’s bad. You did not volunteer for this. I always think: This is also a way to help them.

The season started in October with a pair of swans. Then the wigeon and now the barnacle geese, powerful beasts that fly to Spitsbergen and back, but now gasp for the end. Rinaldo: “The flu season is getting longer. Sometimes we fear that this will go on all year round. Elke Jan: “What we’re seeing now, nationally and collectively, gives little indication of what’s going on.”

Little – there is not much to say. Reporting and culling of infected wild birds is organized in a somewhat decentralized manner. Which authority to engage depends on where the bird is landing. Local road, or local water: municipality. County route: county. Territorial waters: Water Council. Rijkswaterstaat or motorway: Rijkswaterstaat. Along the track: ProRail. More than three suspected ducks, geese, or swans, or more than twenty other “species of birds” have been found? Report to NVWA, AImpact2021 Working Group advises. “In other cases, Sophon and DWHC.”

Fortunately, they are directed by their municipality to cull sick birds, and this gives them something to keep, and so the voluntary kilometers are also paid. But the contribution promised by the ministry last year has not yet been received. There are shelters for birds that no longer report or collect sick animals, also for fear of getting rid of them. “It would be helpful if we knew better where we stand.”

RIVM, WBVR, NVWA, DWHC, LNV – who is doing what to combat an epidemic, and where you should be with an infection, is unclear even to a bird filter. Everything in the Netherlands has always revolved around as many pills as possible, including this virus crisis, “No one is really responsible,” Elke Jan says, “which is quite strange.”

They themselves represent the ministry.

Leave a Comment