Artwork by Janet Essley. Embarking on migration on a full moon / Australian Aboriginal acrylic painting style.

On this page you will find information about art projects in which our researchers are involved.

TRACKS – the sound and science of bird migration

9-Jun-2017 → 17-Jun-2017: Oerol performing arts festival, Terschelling, The Netherlands

TRACKS 2017 for web

Theunis Piersma (professor at the RUG) and Sytze Pruiksma (composer and percussionist) performed the show TRACKS during the 2017 edition of the performing arts festival Oerol on Terschelling. Sytze’s poetical music compositions of bird sounds and the stories of Theunis and Sytze about knots and godwits were weaved together in a engaging and moving theater piece about passion for birds and concerns about our shared world. Migrating birds have stories to tell, and perhaps we should listen.

The show was directed by Jos Thie from PIER21. Between 9-17 June 2017 there were 19 performances, in the Westerkerk, in the town of West, steps from the ferry and the mudflats. The Theaterkrant published a glowing review: “A brilliant musical masterclass”. Also Cultuurpodium reviewed the show  –  in Dutch.

Photos : René den Engelsman:Pier 21 - Tracks© Rene den EngelsmanPier 21 - Tracks© Rene den EngelsmanPier 21 - Tracks© Rene den Engelsman


Marathon migrants

‘Marathon Migrants’ combines the narrative of bird ecologist and Wadden researcher Theunis Piersma with the sublime pictures of Jan van de Kam, a high regarded bird photographer. Van de Kam and Piersma have worked together for decades and in many places in the world, on mudflats of the Dutch Wadden Sea, Mauritania, South America and Northwest Australia. The scientific eye of the photographer has resulted in more than just beautiful images of nature.

Shorebirds draw invisible lines in the air and while migrating they express incredible ecological insights and navigation skills. They travel thousands of kilometers from feeding areas to breeding areas. This requires physical performances which are similar to running a marathon.

The delightful combination of wonder and insight is our best bet at nature conservation. This book is a fairy tale and a scientific discovery in one. The epic journeys of shorebirds in all corners of our blue planet cannot but baffle us earthlings.’ Johan van de Gronden, in his capacity as CEO WWF-Netherlands. This book can be purchased through Bornmeer Press. Marathon migrants is also available in Dutch as “Reisvogels”


Omslag programma boekje Bird Senses of Places

Sense of Place, a 3-days event our group organized as part of the performing arts festival Oerol in June 2016. One of the most fun and interactive events was Breakfast on the Mudflats, an authentic experience of tidal foraging! Watch this interactive seminar of food landscapes here.

Vastleggen in volledig scherm 23-5-2017 142917.bmp
Sander Holthuijsen and the NIOZ team preparing “Breakfast on the Mudflats”

One of the other successful elements of this event, the show TRACKS, will again be part of Oerol in 2017. “TRACKS, the sound and science of five migrations” is performed by by Theunis Piersma and composer/musician Sytze Pruiksma, and directed by Jos Thie. More information (in Dutch) can be found at Pier21.


Thomas Leerink

On 31 March 2016 Thomas Leerink published a children’s book titled Uitblinkerz! . The book is available at Bornmeer Publishers. In this illustrated children’s book the main character Tijs is involved in research in het Dutch Wadden Sea. Tijs learns how the mudflats and seawater are of main importance for Red Knots.