Nesting Sites for Endangered Birds: A Helping Wing
The Hula Valley is a leading ornithological site on the national, regional and global levels. The diversity of species passing through the area is among the greatest in the world – some 390 different species in an area of less than 20 square miles. KKL-JNF is committed to protecting these birds, including species in danger of extinction. Six species of birds visiting the Hula Valley are globally endangered species, and several more face extinction on the regional level. In order to study, protect and care for these birds a number of elements will be developed, such as nest boxes, tree plantings, and a bird ringing station.
Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Lake Agmon is at the heart of the Hula Restoration project and extends over 320 acres (125 hectares) of land that was re-flooded. The amazing sight of hundreds of thousands of migrating birds once again landing to roost in the valley has to be seen to be believed. KKL-JNF has transformed 75 square kilometers of ecological disaster into a sustainable ecosystem and a major tourist attraction.
In our efforts to protect and study species of birds in danger of extinction, as well as to attract birds that once nested in the valley, we are developing nesting sites to bring back birds that no longer breed in the Hula Valley. Our worldwide friends become partners in the rehabilitation of the valley, and with their help Israel will be taking a giant leap forward, developing ecologically and sustainably for the benefit of plants, animals and above all people.
Barn Owl Nesting Boxes: Owls for Farmers
Nesting boxes are a common sight in the Hula and Jordan Valleys. The farmers put up the boxes for the barn owls, nocturnal predatory birds that are welcome visitors to the fields. After many years of research, it has been calculated that a single family of barn owls can devour up to 3,500 voles a year. It was also found that the main factor limiting the growth of the barn owl population was the lack of nesting places. The vole is a small rodent, but one of the main pests in terms of damage to crops. To protect the owls while avoiding the use of pesticides, KKL-JNF is establishing dozens of nesting boxes for the barn owls.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of birds pass through the Hula Valley, feeding on the voles. Poisoning the voles could lead to mass poisoning of these birds. Thus the Building Nesting Sites for Barn Owls project emphasizes the use of environmentally sound methods to secure a balanced and diverse ecosystem in the area. The project supports one of the key species of birds living in the area, thus strengthening the Hula’s standing as an international ornithological center. By realizing this project KKL-JNF also strengthens the agriculture of the region and limit damage to it.
The Building Nesting Sites for Barn Owls project will help advance one of the key attractions in the area. From seasoned ornithologists spending several days in the area in peak season, to children and their parents stopping as they cycle around Lake Agmon to hear a brief description of the birdlife from a KKL-JNF guide – all visitors will benefit from investing in the wildlife of this precious area.
Hula Valley Monitoring Project
The Hula Valley was reflooded in the 1990's in order to revive the ecosystem that once flourished in the area. Since 1997, a monitoring program has been in place to examine the response of the local ecosystem to climatic changes and human influence. The ecological processes in the Hula ecosystem are very dynamic and not yet stable, and it is vital to facilitate cooperation among farmers, water managers and naturalists. Eight monitoring stations collect data on parameters such as vegetation distribution in Hula Valley and in Lake Agmon, water table altitude, and hydrological flow rate. Monthly surveys track numbers and species of birds in the Hula Valley and the fish stocks in Lake Agmon.
Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
In our work to provide accurate environmental data as a basis for policy making and implementation, as well as maintaining the quality of water in Lake Kinneret, knowledge is an essential foundation. The monitoring project provides the solid professional data that must shape our decisions as we continue to nurture and develop this precious natural resource. It is a part of the chain of support that has painted Israel green, responding in each generation to new challenges and needs on the unchanging basis of love for the Land of Israel, for its flora and fauna and for all those who live in and visit the country.
Bird Banding Station: Put a Ring on a Bird
The Hula Valley is a leading ornithological site on a global level, with approximately 390 species flying over an area of less than 50 square kilometers during migration. At ringing stations birds are trapped, their vital data recorded, and they are then ringed (banded) with individually numbered aluminum rings. These combine research with tourism in a balanced manner for the benefit of both people and birds in the valley.
Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive
The Bird Ringing (Banding) Station in the Hula Valley serves researchers studying the birds in Lake Agmon and its surroundings. Visitors can watch ringing activity and learn about the birds returning to the valley. Together with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, KKL-JNF located a suitable spot in the southern part of Lake Agmon. Development includes earthworks, the station building, and embankments with hides for the benefit of birdwatchers who can watch the birds without disturbing them. The station will operate in a manner to preserve the delicate balance between visitors and the birds, developing ecotourism and rehabilitating the Hula Valley wetland ecosystem.
By developing the Bird Ringing Station in the Hula Valley, KKL-JNF helps in advancing one of the key attractions in the area. From seasoned ornithologists spending several days in the area in peak season to children and their parents stopping as they cycle around Lake Agmon to hear a brief description of the birdlife from a KKL-JNF guide – all visitors benefit from your investment in the wildlife of this precious area.