Hula Valley Bird Center

Nadav Israeli Hula Valley Bird Center manager:

 

“Everyone knows that in Israel "nature" is synonymous with Hula Valley.

The location of the Hula Valley, in the heart of the Great Rift Valley, and its diverse and rich habitats, creates one of the top birding sites in the world. During autumn and spring the Hula Reserve, Agamon and surrounding fields, transform into a bustling fueling and resting point for millions of migratory birds from hundreds of different species.

Thousand of Eurasian Cranes crowd the winter skies with their characteristic "grus.grus.." calls, along with an array of water fowl, endangered raptors and many others.

The Hula Valley is also a paradise for its nesting bird species, some under global threat of extinction – such as the Basra Reed Warbler, Marbled Duck and the reintroduced, awe inspiring, White-Tailed Eagle.

You want more?!  Easy…

Try White Pelicans, Greater Spotted Eagle and Imperial Eagle – also under regional or global threat of extinction.

Also, the rarest amphibian in the world – the Hula Painted Frog, the living fossil causing turmoil in the scientific communities in recent years - has been re-discovered here after thought to be extinct from the world for half a century!

And lets not forget, nesting Black Shouldered Kites, River Otters, Water Buffalos and Jungle cats. This is our wonderful reality at the Hula Valley Birding Center.

The Hula Valley Birding Center aspires to be a hub of scientific activities in a scale not seen in Israel before.

We are working to conserve and preserve all these natural treasures through education, tourism, and working with the local community, promoting the protection of birds and their habitat in this beautiful and valuable area.

Come see for yourselves J

 

The Hula Valley Birding Center (HVBC) was established in 2001 by the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), in order to promote bird watching and nature conservation activities in the Hula Valley and surrounding area – the Sea of Galilee, Golan Heights, Mount Hermon and the Galilee region.

 

The main goal of the center is to preserve the diversity of birds and their habitats.

 

These goals are achieved by working on several planes:

 

Nature conservation and monitoringare in essence the "bread and butter" of the HVBC. Regular daily activities include monitoring the different populations, recognizing changes and trends in the field and acting to protect the species' diversity and habitats.

 

Agmon Hula Ringing Station – KKL

HVBC, in cooperation with KKL-JNF, performs monitoring and inspection of bird populations in the area. The ringing station staff offers professional guiding about birding and nature conservation to the various groups arriving at the Agamon.

Tens of thousands of school children, university students and the general public have visited the ringing station in past years.

 

Environmental impact surveys:

In recent years the HVBC has been conducting several surveys whose goal was to determine the impact of constructing a "wind farm" with turbines to produce electricity on migratory and resident bird species.

The accumulated data was used to set the standards by which to construct the farms while causing minimal impact on the natural environment.

 

HermonMountainbreeding bird's survey:

An encompassing survey aimed at mapping the breeding birds' population of the Hermon Mountain.

The highest mountain in Israel is home to no less than 17 breeding bird species that cannot be found any where else in the country. The unique and fragile habitats of the Hermon are under many threats. The survey provides valuable information about the size of the populations, their composition and level of vulnerability and recommends desired measures to be taken in order to protect the unique species of the mountain top.

 

Endangered bird species breeding survey:

In the Hula Valley and its surroundings there are several nesting species under global threat of extinction – lesser kestrel, marbled duck and Ferruginous Duck.

The HVBC monitors these species to better their protection.

 

Wintering Raptors survey:

The Hula Valley is an important wintering ground for many birds of prey, some of which under global threat of extinction, such as the Great Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle and Pallid Harrier. The center conducts surveys in order to monitor the different species, so they can be better protected.

 

The Hula Valley Pratincole Initiative: 

The Pratincole Initiative came to life after emergency measures had to be taken in order to save one of the last nesting colonies of Collared Pratincoles in Israel. Even today the state of the Pratincoles in Israel is critical with less than 100 breeding pairs. But there is reason for hope due to the rise in awareness among the general public and in particular among the farmers in whose fields the Pratincoles nest.

Joint teams of farmers and nature lovers (not to imply one is not the other) act in the Hula Valley and Beit Shean Valley in order to prevent further destruction of the nesting colonies.

 

 

Public and Educational Actions

 

"Only through education can this world become a better place"

Janusz Korczak

 

In the HVBC education receives very high priority. Introducing the public to the acquired knowledge and creating familiarity with the fascinating world of birds, are the correct and effective ways to protect bird species and nature in general, in both present and future times.

 

The ringing station in the Agamon-KKI serves as an aperture to the center's activities. Each year thousand of visitors discover the wonderful world of birds with the help of the SPNI researchers working in the station. This is a golden opportunity to close encounter birds and understand the importance of protecting them in addition to simply enjoying the outdoors in the heart of the Agamon.

 

Once a month, a "communal observation survey" takes place. It is a joint activity for birding and nature enthusiasts from the greater region. The communal observation takes place in a different site each time, guided by the HVBC professional staff and is free of charge.

 

HVBC is a partner in a steering community working to establish an urban nature park in the heart of Kiryat Shmona – HaZahav Park, transverse by HaZahav stream. The Park is an initiative of the Kiryat Shmona municipality and Kiryat Shmona's Wonders of Nature foundation. The HVBC conducts birding activities in the site to help raise awareness to the marvelous natural world of the park.

 

Nature and agriculture can exist side by side! In a new initiative of the birding center, Hula Valley farmers and Agamon-KKL, we promote cooperation between nature loving farmers and non-farming nature lovers – for the protection of natural merits in the agricultural fields. The initiative includes monthly leaflets for the farmers in topics of nature and ecology, a joint panel for discussing nature conservation issues and more.

 

 

Tourism and Birding

 

Birding tourism has been growing at a terrific rate all over the world, and in Israel in particular. Millions of tourists "migrate" every year following the birds' global passage, which inevitably leads many to Israel. HVBC is partner in the promotion of both national and international birding tourism.

 

The HVBC conducts guided birding tours for groups and individuals of all ages all year long. You are invited to come and enjoy the wealth and beauty of birds through guided tours with some of the best birdwatchers in the country.

 

"Winter of Birds" is a the name for an Israeli birding celebration taking place in the Galilee, Golan and valleys. Winter of Birds is a joint initiative of the birding center, the Galilean development authority, KKL-JNF and Israel's Nature and Parks Authority. Each year thousands of visitors come to see birds in the north of the country and thus "put birding on the Israeli map"

 

HulaValleyBird Festival has been taking place each winter since 2011, and is gaining further momentum every year. Birders from all over the world as well as Israel, come to experience rare birding treats in the Hula Valley, such as the wintering cranes and raptors roosting colonies – giving the festival and the Hula Valley global publicity.

 

Activity

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