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A BUSY ROUTE FOR WANDERING BIRDS

Did you know that since Israel lies on one of the busiest bird migration routes, it is a favorite site for bird watching enthusiasts from all over the world? Most of the migration of Europe's bird population to Africa in autumn and their return in the spring, takes place over the narrow corridor from the Hula nature reserve and bird sanctuary in Northern Israel, southward to Eilat. An estimated 500 million birds, from the smallest to storks with one-and-half meter wingspan, fly over Israel during March and April.

Typical of Israel, is a project in the Hula Valley which provides a home to over 13,000 cranes from Siberia. Since the crane's favorite meal is the corn crops of the local moshavim and kibbutzim, it could be expected that the local farmers would use their shotguns to protect their crops. Instead, in cooperation with the JNF, they designated an area to which they bring three tons of corn daily to feed the cranes, thus diverting them from the crops which they need to save.

While driving on the Haifa -Tel-Aviv coastal highway during coming weeks you are likely to see a huge flock of storks overhead, as if in a slow cloud, comprising thousands of birds, gracefully swirling and dancing a waltz. Beware though, don't be too distracted by the beauty - keep your eye on the highway so that you return home safely and in peace.

While most storks and pelicans stopover in Israel for a fish snack and some water from the lakes or the fish ponds, on their 450 kilometer journey to Eilat, other birds may choose to stay here for a while...

06/03/2006

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