Israel is an amazing place. They have ostriches and flamingos. They have owls and vultures. And the national bird is a real beauty. So what better way to observe the feast of Hannukkah than by looking at eight birds from Israel?
The national bird is the Hoopoe, a singular species in its family worldwide, but found in Israel. The country voted on which bird should snag the honor, and the hoopoe won.
Another beautiful bird found in Israel is the Little Green Bee-eater. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaIpdjOCMDs From the sharp beak to the spiky tail, this litlte bundle of feathers is adorable. And it’s only one of three bee eaters found there.
Kingfishers in the Holy Land come in pied, common, and white-throated. Here’s a video of the pied catching fish.
And the beautiful common kingfisher doing the same.
The understated beauty of this Desert Wheatear is possibly what makes it a popular subject for videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kYIslECWYw This one is especially enjoyable for the wind and ocean noises. There are over a dozen species of wheatears that pass through or live in Israel.
Three species of pelican inhabit the shores of Israel. I spotted the Dalmation Pelican on the list. They spend the winter in the Eastern Mediterranean, along with the Great White and the Pink Back. http://www.arkive.org/dalmatian-pelican/pelecanus-crispus/video-06.html
Another winter resident is the Demoiselle Crane, smallest and lightest species of crane. A delicate beauty, named for a French queen, they form lifelong pair bonds and when migrating may travel vast distances without landing. http://www.arkive.org/demoiselle-crane/anthropoides-virgo/video-09.html
Eye-catching stripes on the breast of the Olive-backed Pipit cause it to stand out as it searches for food. A ground forager, this little bird is related to wagtails, which you can obviously see while watching this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juu-JdceMoY Fourteen of 54 worldwide species of pipits occur in Israel.
Wrapping up the last Hannukkah gift, this adorable Hume’s Tawny Owl give a great example of the bird’s well-known call, and refuses to look directly into the camera. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSVkCyzidcA I could just take him home and cuddle him for hours.
Thanks for joining me on this commemorative birding expedition. May you and your family find peace together this year, wherever you are. I’ll be back on Thursday.