Unusual Number of Storks open Migration Season at KKL-JNF’s Hula Agamon Park

Monday, September 05, 2016

KKL-JNF’s Hula Agamon Park is one of the leading birdwatching sites in the world, with half a billion birds passing over it during the migration season. The site, which KKL-JNF maintains and develops with the assistance of its friends throughout the world, is an exemplary combination of nature, agriculture and tourism.

"Spectacular Sight” in the Hula Lake: Storks Arrive in the Ten of Thousands
The storks have opened the autumn season as they do every year, but this time, according to the director of the park, their numbers were exceptional compared to previous migrations. “I don’t recall quantities like these,” she said, also noting that the booted eagles and black kites would soon be arriving.


The tens of thousands of storks that arrived from Europe and landed this week at the KKL-JNF Hula Lake Park have opened the autumn migration season. Inbar Rubin, the director of the park, explained that the storks arrived at their usual time, but their numbers were exceptional compared to other autumn migrations. “Every year, the storks arrive as punctually as a Swiss watch—at the end of August. This is because they don’t begin migrating according to changes in the weather. As soon as they sense that the days are getting shorter, it’s time to move south as far as they’re concerned,” she said.

“The flock that landed here over the last few days was very large compared to the quantities of storks that arrive here in the autumn migration. I’ve been working here for more than ten years, and I don’t recall quantities like these, which are more typical to the spring migration,” said Rubin. “In general, we see hundreds or a few thousand storks arriving here, but more than ten thousand storks landed here this time.”

The storks are the first to open the autumn migration season, arriving from countries in Europe and heading toward the warm countries in Africa. In the next few days, tens of thousands of pelicans are also expected to arrive, but the autumn migration will be at its peak from late September to mid-October, when the cranes arrive - tens of thousands of them that pass through the Hula marsh until March. Until the cranes arrive, however, hundreds of thousands of birds will by flying over Israel on their way from the cold countries to the warm countries.

“I received a report yesterday from Georgia regarding forty-seven thousand perns (a raptor in the buzzard family) who took off in the direction of Israel. That’s the first raptor that passes through our skies during the autumn migration, and they can reach quantities of four hundred thousand, with Israel as a rest stop for only one night,” said Rubin. In addition to the perns, booted eagles, western marsh harriers and black kites are expected to fly through the skies of Israel, some of which prefer to stay in Israel through the winter.

“While this is a routine that has been repeating itself for thousands of years, and I myself have been experiencing it year after year, it always thrills me when a migration season begins. It’s a spectacular sight,” concluded Rubin. “It’s hard to explain in words the feeling of suspense before they arrive, the amazing feeling when you see them landing here en masse and, of course, the wish to fly with them.”