The HZ Garden is not only a fertile place for fresh herbs, vegetables and fruits. Animals also make full use of it. The garden has been in existence for two years now and by now it is home to many special bees, various butterflies and other insects. Rabbits are also regularly spotted feasting on all the goodies there are to be found. It now appears that the HZ Garden is also used as a nesting place by birds, as a nest of young oystercatchers has been found!

Oystercatchers in the HZ Garden

Last Monday, Jeffrey, Facility Management employee, saw the mother bird with her three chicks walking through the HZ Garden. So the chicks have already left the nest, but they cannot fly yet. About this, HZ Green Office coordinator Ingrid says: ‘The nest is on the roof, which you can see from the men's toilet in the L corridor. The parents and their chicks are now walking in the Food Garden and taking advantage of the tall grass. The parents make a lot of noise when we come near and walk away from the chicks to distract you. Very clever!’

Taking account of the young birds

2023 has been declared the Year of the Oystercatcher by the Bird Conservancy to draw attention to the decline of this bird. It is therefore important that we within the HZ help protect the oystercatcher. We can start doing that right away, by providing a good environment for the nest in the HZ Garden.

For the young birds to grow up successfully, it is best to leave them alone. We would kindly ask you not to come to the back of the HZ Garden to avoid disturbing the nest. For in the kitchen garden, however, you are welcome. You will most likely meet the members of HZ Green Office there too, as that is a safe distance from where the oystercatcher family is. Still hoping to catch a glimpse of the family? From the corridor between the L building and the F building towards the media library, you stand a good chance of seeing them. Mowing the meadow will be postponed until the young have fledged.

How do you recognise an oystercatcher?

Oystercatchers are often found in coastal areas and like to eat worms and shellfish. You can recognise them by their bright orange long bill, black and white sturdy body and long pink legs. Wondering if you can hear them? Then look out for a shrill sound that sounds like: ‘(to-)piet!’

Breeding seagull

Besides the oystercatcher, a seagull is also breeding on the HZ site, between the F building and B building. Earlier this year, prevention took place to counter breeding gulls, as they cause nuisance. In spring, for instance, a desert hawk flew weekly in circles above the HZ to scare off gulls. Now that a gull nest has been spotted anyway, we also want to offer that family the same peace and quiet as the oystercatchers.