Nature in the port: the Bird Valley of the Port of Rotterdam
Rotterdam’s port area is rich in animal and plant life, an aspect of the local environment the port has been active in investing in. The nearby Maasvlakte contains a wealth of nature, including the recently inaugurated Bird Valley, covering over 21 hectares of land. The Bird Valley has diverse islands, large water bodies and a wall where sand martins can breed. It is a safe, enclosed area where birds can rest, eat and breed, after they have flown in exhausted from the sea. Due to the diversity of the landscape, many different species of coastal birds – such as terns, common terns and black-headed gulls – and singing birds – including common whitethroats and blue throats – can be found in the valley. The local community may also benefit from the valley through two ideally-placed bird-watching stations. The Bird Valley was developed by the Port Authority of Rotterdam in close collaboration with Bureau Stadsnatuur (urban nature agency of Rotterdam), HNS Landscape Architects and various nature organisations. The Valley is a clear demonstration of the Port’s desire to invest in biodiversity as a recognition of the importance and added value of natural resources.