Israel Environment & Nature: Bird Migration
Migration is one of the most amazing natural phenomena on earth. It is performed by butterflies, fish, turtles, deer, and many other animals. The longest migrations of all are those of birds. Israel, located at the junction of three continents, is crossed by migrating birds on a scale unparalleled anywhere. Studies over the past decade show that about 500 million birds cross Israel's narrow airspace twice every year in the course of their migrations. Consequently, Israel has become an attraction for bird enthusiasts worldwide.
Although Israel has laws that protect migrating birds, the massive migrations have created a grave safety problem for both the Israel Air Force and the birds. A joint study conducted over the past decade by the Israel Air Force and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel led to several solutions that have reduced the number of accidents involving aircraft and birds by 88 percent, thereby helping to protect pilots, aircraft, and the migrating birds that fill Israel's skies by the millions twice each year.
Research on migrating birds in Israel, based on satellite and radar monitoring, makes it possible today to track the birds from Israel to their winter nesting grounds in Africa, and back northward, via Israel, to their summer nesting grounds in Europe.
At the The International Center for Study of Birds Migration, located on the main highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, interdisciplinary and educational activity is being developed to permit computer tracking of migrating birds and exchange of information with ornithologists and students in neighboring countries.
Migrating birds do not recognize political borders, and serve as ideal symbols of the era of peace that is dawning in the Middle East.
Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry