Bird Watching

Ornithologists are advised to bring bird guides with them, as Palestine is undoubtedly an ideal observation post for bird lovers. In spite of its scarcity of land, more than 470 species have been recorded. Thanks to the area’s ecological diversity, various species either live here on a permanent basis or at least part of the year (349 species) or regularly pass through the coastal areas or the Jordan valley (121 species). The region is at the junction of the Asian, European and African continents and thanks to its wide variety of climate and topography, the region is a superb migratory route; ornithologists estimate that up to 500 million birds migrate in the spring and autumn.

Peak migration time is between March 10 and April 20. The West Bank, blessed with many water sources, attracts the greatest number of birds. The Negev desert (Sahara en-Naqab) and the Jordan Valley also attract travelers thanks to their low barometric depressions or air thermals, which make it easy for birds to soar for long distances with a minimum of energy. The migration of storks is particularly remarkable and an impressive sight: Palestine and Israel are on the migratory route of 85% of the world’s stork population.

Palestine is slowly becoming more and more popular with bird watchers. Its position at the crossroads between Africa, Asia and Europe make it a pathway for the biyearly migration of over 500 million birds that come spring time travel from Africa through Palestine and into Europe and Asia and then back again to Africa come fall.

The country itself has a remarkable variety of habitats, each with its own compliment of birds. And what’s more, you can bird-watch among some of the world’s famous archaeological and historical sites such as the Jericho region, Wadi Quilt, and the Jerusalem Wilderness. The Palestine Wildlife Society has identified some 13 Important Bird Areas In Palestine. For more information of Palestinian Wildlife please visit the Wildlife Society at www.wildlife-pal.org

Information provided courtesy of the Alternative Tourism Group www.atg.ps