Bearded reedlings at a wetland in Flevoland, Netherlands
© Gert-Jan IJzerman/Minden Picture
More of a mustache than a beard?. Bearded reedlings in Flevoland
Flevoland, the 12th and newest province in the Netherlands, has only been around since 1986. Not only was it not established until this late date, but before the mid-20th century, much of the land here simply didn't exist. Flevoland was created through vast land reclamation projects in the 1950s and '60s. While the Dutch had been reforming their landscape to meet their changing needs for hundreds of years, the 20th century would see their most dramatic and ambitious projects realized. The province's anthem is the fitting 'Waar Wij Steden Doen Verrijzen' ('Where We Let Cities Arise'). It's an ode to pushing back the sea and creating a 'province that's not bad, youngest part of the Netherlands. Where it is nice to live, my beloved Flevoland!'
With its landscape of bogs, marshes, and swamps, Flevoland is a perfect nesting ground for these bearded reedlings. The reedlings are sometimes referred to as bearded tits, due to their passing resemblance to the long-tailed tit, but not only are they not tits, they don't really have beards either (though the males have something closer to a mustache). Found across Eurasia, the bearded reedling is considered a unique songbird, with no other living species closely related to it.