The natural world has fascinated me for as long as I can remember, and it thus perhaps no surprise that I ended up studying biology. After completing both my BSc and MSc at Wageningen University, I took my first tentative step on the path of a scientific career by starting my current PhD here in Oulu. Although interested in many (if indeed not most) organisms and systems, my main projects so far have been focussed on birds: communication in ravens (Corvus corax), foraging in geese (Branta leucopsis) and now the diet of mainly Paridae (Parus major, Cyanistes caeruleus, Poecile montanus, Lophophanes cristatus, and Ficedula hypoleuca). In contrast to my native Netherlands, Finland offers an impressive array of natural areas, but the human influence is nonetheless apparent, from destructive forestry to the creeping influence of climate change. In addition to fundamental ecological questions involving niche separation and competition, my present work will also help understand habitat requirements for the bird species, some of which have seen their numbers decline in recent years.