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Grus Cranes enjoying the warmth of the Hula Valley

Birds, migration and the Hula Valley

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Birds, Migration and the Hula Valley

Every year millions of birds travel across the world in order to be in optimal breeding places at the right time. In general, birds enjoy spending the spring and summer months in the northern hemisphere and the winter months in the southern hemisphere where it is warm and where food is plentiful.

Some birds are known to travel as far as 14,000 km each migration. Birds can fly high enough to traverse the Himalayas and other high mountain ranges.

There are two main methods of migration. Smaller birds, such as quail and hummingbirds, “actively” travel the great distances. They fly overnight for long stretches and then spend a couple of days eating and recuperating before their next flight. Because they spend the entire flight flapping their wings, they are able to cross large bodies of water.

Larger birds such as storks and cranes use thermals and glide over large distances. This means that the large birds have to fly during the day and over land.

These factors together result in large numbers of birds at bottlenecks between the hemispheres, in places such as southern Mexico, Gibraltar, the Philippines, and surprisingly enough, Israel.

Now, if you take large numbers of birds and bring them to an area which is relatively warm, quiet and has food and water, the birds will feel as though they checked into a five star hotel. Some birds will stop for a quick bite and carry on, some will stay overnight, and some may decide to stay.

This is what happens at the Hula Valley, which is a paradise for birds and bird watchers alike!

The Hula valley, located in northern Israel, is a large valley between Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. The valley was originally wetlands which were the perfect place for the birds.

These wetlands were dried up by Israel during the 1950’s to make room for agriculture. This devastated the ecological balance of the area and many of the birds stopped migrating over this area.

In the 1960’s, Israel recognised the depth of the mistake and part of the valley was reflooded. Over time, many of the birds which had stopped visiting started to come back, and only recently a frog which was thought extinct was rediscovered!

Gems Of Israel- Land of Pursuits Monument

Posted by | Gems of Israel, Memorials, Sites | No Comments

The ‘Land of Pursuits Monument’ (אנדרטת ארץ המרדפים ), also known as the Jordan Valley Monument, is a magnificent memorial which is hidden in the Jordan valley off of highway 90, beside the village of Petzael.

In the years following the 1967 Six Day War, frequent terrorist attacks were perpetrated against Israeli towns and villages by terrorists entering from Jordan. The IDF regularly intercepted terrorists in the Jordan Valley (the valley along the Jordan river which is the border between Israel and Jordan ), and it became an area in which many firefights and hot pursuits occurred.

As a result of the infiltrations, the IDF created a new brigade stationed in the Jordan Valley, whose task was specifically to combat the terrorists from Jordan.

The IDF developed new combat strategies to accommodate the difficult terrain of the Jordan Valley.
In the years following 1970, Jordan took steps to stop infiltrations into Israel.

The monument was created in 1972 by the Israeli sculptor Yigal Tumarkin. It is built out of cement and steel. Tumarkin took various types of guns, heated them and shaped them into the form of an anit-aircraft cannon which rises to the height of 21 meters.

The names of nearly 400 soldiers who fell in the Jordan Valley are engraved on the memorial.

The memorial makes a great stop when traveling between Jerusalem and Beit Shean on highway 90.

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