Where birds know no borders
Both Israelis and Palestinians have emphasized the importance of protecting and encouraging the birds that reside in and visit this region. The sixth annual Eilat Bird Festival, held at Israel’s southern tip where the country meets the Red Sea, is a weeklong affair (25 March to 1 April). Organized by the Israel Ornithological Centre, activities include guided daytime and nighttime tours, expert seminars and photography sessions.
The Jericho Bird Migration Festival (13 to 15 March) is held in the West Bank in the Jericho Botanical Gardens and is organized by the Palestinian Wildlife Society. Along with birding, events include guided hikes, dancing, traditional Palestinian food, and tours between Jericho in the West Bank and Jerusalem in Israel.
For the ultimate birding experience, get up in the sky and fly right alongside the majestic creatures by booking a glider flight with seasoned Israeli pilot Nany Rozenshtein. The glider has a big bubble top, designed for optimal visibility, and it can travel slowly and quietly enough to trail birds from a distance of about 50m.
“The only thing you hear is air and the only thing you see is birds,” Rozenshtein said. “It’s the only way to do it.”
During peak migration, you can fly with a huge flock of storks or pelicans that number anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 birds. Get as close as humanly possible to the birds for about 11,000 shekels an hour.