So people from around the world come for Birdwatching in the Hula Valley. Israel is well known as being one of the best sites in the world to enjoy migration. Millions of migrants from hundreds of species pass through Israel twice a year, making it one of the world’s busiest and most impressive flyways. Besides being a terrestrial bridge between the African continent and the Eurasian landmass; Israelis characterized by a wide range of habitats and as a result, presents rich biodiversity all year round.
Southern Israel is mostly arid and its fascinating deserts are the northern tip of the breeding range of many African and near eastern bird species. On the other hand, the north of Israel with its high mountains and fertile green areas is the southern tip for many birds of European and Asian origin. Also Mt. Hermon in Israel’s extreme north is the tip of the vast Syrian mountain range and as such hosts some regional specialties that are hard to find anywhere else.
Furthermore, Israel’s mild winter hosts over 150 species of northern breeders, that choose to pass the winter months here, including some very rare species.
Israel offers excellent birding year-round with every season hosting its own specialties
Israel is a hub of a wide range of interesting species
The holy land hosts a wide range of interesting breeding and non-breeding resident species. So birdwatching in the Hula Valley you will find common birds like Yellow-vented Bulbul; Palestine Sunbird; Laughing Dove; Hoopoe; and Syrian Woodpecker can be found in metropolitan areas year-round.
Highly coveted near-eastern species like Black francolin, Long-billed Pipit, Syrian Serin, Graceful Prinia, and Clamorous Reed Warbler are easy to find most of the year in the right habitats.
Israel’s diverse desert regions are home to regional specialties like Macqueen’s Bustard, Spotted, Black-bellied, Crowned and Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, Western Reef Heron, White-eyed Gull, Nubian Nightjar, the enigmatic Hume’s Tawny Owl; Namaqua Dove; 3 species of Wheatears: Blackstart; Streaked Scrub Warbler; Desert, bar-tailed and Hoopoe Larks; Arabian Warbler; Desert and Trumpeter finch and many more. Most of these species can all be found year-round if you know where to go.
But Why Do Birds Migrate?
When I am taking my guests to do some birdwatching in the Hula Valley I like to tell them that the primary motivation for migration appears to be food; for example, some hummingbirds choose not to migrate if fed through the winter. Also, the longer days of the northern summer provide extended time for breeding birds to feed their young. This helps diurnal birds to produce larger clutches than related non-migratory species that remain in the tropics.
As the days shorten in autumn; the birds return to warmer regions where the available food supply varies little with the season. These advantages offset the high stress; physical exertion costs; and other risks of the migration. Did you know that some bar-tailed godwits Limosa lapponica has the longest known non-stop flight of any migrant! Flying 11,000 km from Alaska to their New Zealand non-breeding areas. Moreover, prior to migration, 55 percent of their bodyweight is stored as fat to fuel this uninterrupted journey.