De Groote Heide is a true eldorado for birds, and thus also for bird watchers. Certain areas have for many centuries been used to capture and train falcons for falconry. A special recurring event each year is the common crane migration, that with a bit of luck also calls on De Groote Heide as a place to rest. And once again the great diversity of the area guarantees a wide variety of species.
This is a kestrel. Falconry used to be a important source of income for poor farmers living on De Groote Heide. Through falconry some were actually able to amass great wealth. Falconers from this area were highly sought after by many European royals, for whom falconry was a popular pastime.
The great spotted woodpecker is a bird that frequents many of the wooded areas of De Groote Heide. During warmer seasons the woodpeckers eats mainly insects and other invertebrates. In winter, however, woodpeckers follow a mostly vegetarian diet.