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.
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”.
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, based on the
updated information on the internet site and from 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 field
The study program
is multi-disciplinary 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.
With the aid of
satellite linked transmitters attached to a bird, 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.
in Real Time
the aid of a miniature video camera which was affixed 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
The station for
the study of Jericho birds which is located in the Wildlife Monitoring Station is apparently the
first ringing station in the Palestine. The ringing station serves as a base for joint educational
activities for Palestinian schoolchildren and 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.
Study of Night
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 &
This research is
being done in cooperation with the acoustic laboratory at Cornell University in the United States.
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Laith Hazim Qumsiyeh
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