Bird migration is everywhere, making it a universally accessible, constantly changing wonder of nature – and if you’re lucky enough to live on a coastal flyway at the edge of a continental landmass (well, it was more about planning and sacrifice than luck), then the possibilities for a migration junkie like myself are almost endless.
Better still, when you position yourself at the axis of various topographical, geographical and coastal features, there are different ‘subgenres’ of bird migration that open up to you – meaning that during the right season, there are different choices, depending on prevailing wind and weather conditions.
Bird migration is an endlessly fascinating phenomenon that taps into a variety of our basic impulses and desires. There's the sensual, animalistic connection it nurtures and strengthens with the cyclical changing of seasons, and the subtle sub-seasons within them;
the odd but very human urge to install order and a sense of control over the relative chaos, by meticulously counting and recording each and every bird - getting our 'ducks in a row' (often literally).
Outside, nature is exploding with this sunny weather, and we sit more inside than usual. Experienced birders know their lonesome piece of forest to enjoy nature as good as all days. Kids learn much at home at the moment.
Lucky are those with a big garden. But birds you may watch also from the balcony or through the window. That is a practical biology lesson for the whole family.
Bird watchers come to Israel from around the world once a year. From March 22nd to March 31st the big Birding Festival is celebrated in Eliat. It’s the time when the birds fly north again. The steppe eagles are a very special spectacle for the birders.
Their big swarms are very impressive every year. But how do the birds find their way to Eliat? In this article you will learn more about the eagle’s sense of direction and the great festival of bird watchers.
Svartådalen, also known as the Black River Valley, in central Sweden features forest, lake, and marsh habitats that attract a wide variety of birds throughout the year. In winter, look for three-toed and grey-headed woodpeckers as well as great grey, Ural, Tengmalm's, pygmy, and hawk owls.
During the breeding season, look for capercaillie, black-throated diver, spotted crake, and black tern.
Birdwatching in the stony deserts of southern Israel
The desert of Israel with its vast landscapes initially seems very barren and empty, but if you learn to understand it and follow its rules, all of its diversity is revealed. Bird watchers especially get their money's worth.
They will encounter many unusual and mysterious animal species. They can observe that each bird species follows its own rituals. Noam Weiss gives us an insight into a very special habitat for birds.
True, birdwatching in winter is just for hardened nature and bird lovers. While we freeze on the northern hemisphere and only the resident birds like robin, blackcap, blackbird, thrush, tit, starling or Golcrest stay, most bird species are in Africa, Latin America or in South East Asia. It is tempting to just follow them or directly travel to the north to watch Gyrfalcons or Whiskered Auklet in Alaska, a Snow Goose or a Tow-barred Crossbill on Iceland or a Ross’ Gull and a Siberian Rubythroat in Siberia.
Unfortunately, we do not travel as climate-friendly and cost neutral like migrating birds. So, we have to put two layers of outdoor clothing on, take our optics around our neck, the spotting scope on the back and then set out for the next lake or woods. Everywhere in the northern world there are many interesting species to find with enough patience, which we only in winter get in front of our optics.