Every winter, hundreds of millions of tourists (some of them no larger than a finger) defy travel warnings to visit the
They also don’t say much – at least that we can understand. But Israeli officials say the annual bird migration from Europe and Asia to Africa has the potential to bring many more tourists to
“In less than 500 kilometers (300 miles) we have more than 500 species of birds,” Jonathan Meirav, the organizer of the Hula Bird Festival told The Media Line. “In comparison, the whole
“Many of these birds, especially the cranes, fly in big flocks,” Israel Ornithological Center Director Dan Alon told The Media Line. “Cranes need to be together all the time and they need to talk about it. They talk about food, where was the best place to be during the day, and they do it in a place we call a ‘pub.’”
There may not be beer in these pubs, says Alon, but there are plenty of snacks.
“The birds come to eat some peanuts or corn and to drink before they go to sleep — it’s just like the way we use the pub,” Alon said.
The sight of thousands of birds in the darkening sky can be breathtaking, but some farmers in the
The Hula Bird Festival, which coincides with the annual migration, aims to bring bird watchers from around the world to
David Bismuth, an avid birder from
“We saw thousands of cranes, but also some eagles that are very rare in
There are an estimated 100 million bird watchers around the world. Israeli tourism officials say that even a small slice of that market could boost
“We believe that at this time of year, this is the place for bird watchers to be,” Alon said. “We call on bird watchers from all over the world to join us for field trips to see this amazing phenomenon.”
The only transportation through the park is either by foot, golf carts or special wagons designed to get as close as possible to the birds. The best time to see them is sunrise and sunset.
Some visitors say they would never have come to
This is his first trip to
“It’s amazing, it’s such an experience,” he told The Media Line. “It was misty one morning and then all of a sudden all of these cranes appeared out of nowhere. You suddenly feel your place in nature. It’s an emotional experience.”