Migratory Birds Know No Boundaries (Birds Monitoring)

 

Background

The Middle East, located at the juncture of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa, makes it a region second to none in the world for tracking, research and study of the phenomenon of bird migration.  The Middle East is a “bottle neck” for the migration from Europe and to Africa and back.  More than 500 million birds pass over the Middle East twice a year in the autumn and spring migration.

The Middle East is famous throughout the world for continuous warfare since the dawning of history.  It has been decided to utilize the bird migration as a perfect vehicle for cooperation between nations in the region, and to emphasize joint educational endeavors for students in  the region schools under the heading “Migrating Birds Know No Boundaries”.

The Educational Program

The educational program combines class work using the Internet site and field tours. The program enables the students to study about the phenomenon of migration, both from the academic aspect and the experiential aspect based on field tours to bird nests which emphasize environmental protection. The fieldwork allows the students, who communicate via the Internet, to meet face to face with their compatriots during the joint fieldwork.

The study program is multi-disciplinary program combining biology, geography, meteorology, Internet use and research tools.  The children from the Middle East communicate via the internet with children living along the migration route, children from the countries of the breeding grounds in Europe and Asia and children from the countries where the birds winter in Africa.  In addition, a joint program will be developed for children in the Middle East and children in North America.

Satellite Linked Transmitters

With the aid of satellite-linked transmitters attached to birds, we are able to track migrating birds (storks, pelicans, and eagles), wintering birds (cranes) and resident birds (vultures). These transmitters provide real time information, which is received from the Argos Satellite every 90 minutes, about the position of the bird at every point on the globe.

Video Cameras in Real Time

With the aid of a miniature video camera which was attached to a nest of Lesser Kestrels in Jerusalem area it is possible to follow in real-time, using the internet site, the life of the pair during their breeding cycle 24 hours a day.  In the future, cameras will be place in the wintering sites of the cranes, in the roosting sites of the migrating storks and pelicans, and at the feeding stations and nesting sites of the Griffin vultures.

Ringing of Migrating Birds

The station for the study of Jericho birds located in the Wildlife Monitoring Station is the FIRST ringing station in the Palestine. The ringing station serves as a base for joint educational activities for Palestinian schoolchildren and the public.  In the spring of 2004, the third Palestinian ringing station will be established in Gaza; in the future an additional ringing station will be established in the Jerusalem Wilderness.  ** UPDATED INFORMATION**

Study of Night Migration

Research of the night migration of birds in our region has been carried out for the first time through tracking systems, which record the calls of birds migrating at night combined with radar.  Recording stations, which are equipped with highly sensitive microphones, have been placed in Beit Jala & Jericho.

This research is being done in cooperation with the acoustic laboratory at Cornell University in the United States. 

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