HJ Bird-hides

25 July 2021

There’s a lot said already and to be said about keeping birds in captivity. I do believe birds prefer to be as free ‘as a bird’ This however is a positive story on HJ and his father and the beautiful birds they keep in an aviary or birdcage if you will.

In a town up north in the Netherlands, called Emmen, HJ and his father provide a unique possibility to observe and capture birds you’ll seldom spot in the wild. Most of these birds however have been spotted in the Netherlands from time to time. All birds are kept in one huge aviary measuring at least 75 meters in length, 25 meters in width and 5-6 meters in height. In this large cage, they created 3 different biotopes. Each biotope is a unique piece of nature and is certainly showing their love for birds. There’s a wetland/swamp area, a sand wall/beach area and a mixed zone with rocks, bush and sand. Birds can fly to every zone but of course, will mostly be found in their own habitat. The bird diversity is enormous.

Every biotope is created as a beautiful setting for photographers taking all the birds wishes into consideration. From inside the bird-hides, you hardly notice that you’re shooting into a cage. Everything is covered and full of trees, plants, rocks and beautiful old branches and tree stomps for the birds to sit or land on. The fun thing about the hides, they’re all made out of 20ft shipping containers. They’re dug in deep so that you can relax in a chair and still shoot eye level at the birds. Every hide has a capacity of 4 photographers/birdwatchers.
The speciality of HJ bird-hides is Bee-Eaters. A species that is only spotted every now and then in the very south of the Netherlands and is normally to be found more southern in Europe. Beautiful colourful birds that really thrive in this aviary. We saw multiple juveniles and parents flying back and forth in their sand wall homes with food. Thru the whole cage, there were juveniles, from all sorts of birds.

On this page are some of the captures I made. All in all, I was really impressed by the whole setup of the bird hides and the spacious aviary. Birds were clearly happy and content and for all those who abominate birdcages, I hear you, but you gotta see this setup… Nothing but praise.
€400,00 per day for 4 photographers or bird watchers. You can change the 3 hides all during the day. Parking in front of the hide. Restroom facilities are… hmmm.. a little prehistoric.




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