There is no question that our Israeli winter is very mild and comfortable, especially compared to the winters of northern countries. For many species of birds, this is the reason why they choose to spend the entire winter here in Israel, while many others prefer to migrate to much warmer regions in Africa.There is a list of benefits to those birds that choose to spend the cool season with us. These benefits include a shorter migration distance, a variety of habitats in a small geographical area, and avoiding the dangerous crossing of obstacles like the Mediterranean Sea and the vast and empty Sahara Desert. The danger of the trip often takes its toll in injury or death. Birds rely instinctively on their biological clocks to tell them to start migrating. One of the major triggers is the shortening of daylight in the autumn. Once airborne toward their destination they navigate according to global magnetic fields and topographical markers such as mountain chains, seashores and large lakes.Landing in Israel, they behave naturally, as if it is their second home. This is no surprise, as their destination really is their winter home. Small and large birds fly over Israel to escape the harsh cold and lack of food in the winters of Northern Europe and Northwest Asia. When the winter birds arrive, we welcome their beauty, songs and behavior, which enrich our landscape and surroundings.From the 450 species of migrating birds that pass through Israel, 90 species stay here for the entire winter. And so we get to enjoy the presence of the robin, common starling, wagtail, black stork, northern shoveler, bluethroat, stonechat, cormorant, yellow-legged gull and many more.The clock is ticking, so don’t miss out on getting out to see our winged visitors. As the daylight hours stretch, the birds will get airborne again and leave us until their return visit next year.