Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

International Birdwatchers Flock to Israel for Bird Festival

December 10, 2012 2:15 pm 0 comments

Cranes at the Hula Valley. Photo: Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency.

Some of the lesser known ‘tourists’ that visit Israel by the millions each year, are the 300 species of birds, which use Israel as a rest-stop as they migrate en route from Africa, Asia and Europe.

For international bird watchers attending the Second International Hula Valley Bird Festival in mid-November, it is common knowledge that northern Israel’s Hula Valley is one of the most important stopovers and wintering sites for southbound birds.  In late autumn, up to 40,000 Common Cranes visited the Hula Lake to refuel, according to Dan Alon, the director of the Israel Ornithological Center.

“Israel is an ideal location for migrating birds because it is located along the Great Rift Valley flyway, one of the world’s most important bird migration corridors that links Europe, Asia and Africa,” explained Alon.  The flyway is a kind of aerial highway that birds use as they fly between breeding grounds in the north to wintering areas in the south, and provides an array of habitats that are needed by the migrating birds as they travel.

“The birds stop around the vicinity of Hula’s Lake Agamon, to rest, eat and drink, much like human travelers who use hotels, restaurants and pubs,” said Alon. “We have up to 500 million birds and 500 million tourists who come to visit the Hula Valley each year,” he added.

For Thomas Krumenacker, a Reuters journalist from Germany, visiting Israel gives him the opportunity to see another side of the country as a birdwatcher.

“It’s an opportunity to be here and to see the beautiful side of Israel beyond the conflict,” Krumenacker told Tazpit News Agency.

“I come to Israel at least three times a year to see the birds.  Since I was a child, I’ve loved watching birds in Germany and have always been amazed by what birds go through during migration,” said Krumenacker who is working on a book about birds in Israel. His favorite bird is the Hoopoe Lark, or the Alemon in Hebrew, voted Israel’s national bird in 2008 and one of the rarest breeding birds of Israel found in the Arava Valley in the south.

“Israel is a country of immigration and migration,” quipped Krumenacker. “When I go back to Germany, I share with my friends the fascinating bird life that I see here.”

Other international bird enthusiasts at the Hula Valley Bird Festival, organized by the Israel Ornithological Center of the SPINI, the Israel Ministry of Tourism, the International Center for  the Study of Bird Migration in Latrun and the Hoopoe Foundation, were first time visitors to the Holy Land.

Tristan Reed, an ecologist from northwest England, who is also known as the inked naturalist because of the 24 species of birds tattooed on his arms, told Tazpit News Agency that “it’s been fantastic to be in Israel.”

“To see thousands of cranes leaving their roosts in the morning was a very emotional experience for me,” Reed said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to study birds at more natural and personal range.”

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Food Jewish Identity Home of Freud and…Pita? Israelis Make Culinary Mark in Vienna

    Home of Freud and…Pita? Israelis Make Culinary Mark in Vienna

    JNS.org – Several Viennese Jews have made a lasting impact on the world. Sigmund Freud’s investigations changed the face of modern psychology. Composer Arnold Schoenberg’s innovations in atonal music changed the face of music. These days, even more Jews — in particular, Israeli Jews — are changing the face of Vienna’s culinary scene with innovations in…the art of the pita. Freudians may find a psychoanalytic motive for the local appeal of the Israeli eateries popping up in the Austrian capital. Walk […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion In Iraqi Kurdistan, a Genocide Before Our Very Eyes

    In Iraqi Kurdistan, a Genocide Before Our Very Eyes

    The two bullet casings are already beginning to rust. Sheikh Nasser Pasha plucks them from the ground. “Look, one is from an AK-47, one from an American M-4.” The casings are strewn on the ground atop a long mound of dirt with a few bits of white sticks on it. It would appear unremarkable if one were walking by it. A closer look, however, reveals the white objects are pieces of human bone: arms, legs, and a single human skull. […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →