(photo credit: Liron Ziv/SPNI)
The great stork migration is upon us. Thirty-one thousand storks flew down the
country to rest in the Negev and around the Dead Sea on Tuesday, before heading
to their winter homes in eastern Africa.
Tuesday was the first day of the
height of the migration, Jonathan Meyrav, survey director and project manager
for the Israel Ornithological Society, told The Jerusalem Post. The society is
part of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI).
was the first big day of the height of the migration. For the next week to 10
days, we’re likely to see a lot of storks flying by,” he said. The migration
will likely take six weeks since starting in early August. All told, 350,000 are
expected to fly over the country from north to south in that time, he
On Tuesday, the birds flew from the Beit She’an Valley, over Kfar
Adumim, to land in the Negev.
At SPNI’s suggestion, farmers in the Beit
She’an area plowed their fields to uncover the rodents that plague them. The
rodents made a tasty dinner for the storks.
As it has every year for
nearly 30 years, SPNI and the Israel Air Force are surveying the
The purpose of the study is two-fold, Meyrav said, for scientific
purposes and to prevent collisions between jets and birds.
began on August 1. Surveyors stand in a line in the northern valleys to
the storks fly overhead and estimate the size of the flocks, and in the
desert to watch the birds land. Seven thousand birds flew over in one
On Wednesday, SPNI will send up a motorized glider to fly with
the flocks. Throughout the migration, SPNI will be sending up planes to
photograph and film the birds.
More than 500 million birds of different
types are expected to pass through the nation’s skies this winter.