Bird Watchers Flock to Israel's Hula Valley

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Every fall, some 300 species of migrating birds stop in Israel's Hula Valley to rest and regroup before continuing their long flight south to Africa and Asia.

The annual spectacle draws thousands of bird lovers from Israel and abroad to see the colorful flocks stopping midway on their journey to winter in warmer climates.

Among the flocks using the Great Rift Valley during their migration are various species of cranes, pelicans, eagles, ducks, cormorants, pipits, doves, and finches.

Last year, the Tourism Ministry joined with the Israel Ornithological Center, the International Center for the Study of Bird Migration and the Hoopoe Foundation in organizing the International Hula Valley Bird Festival to accommodate the visitors. This year, Israel hosted the second annual festival.

"Israel is an ideal location for migrating birds because it is located along the Great Rift Valley flyway, one of the world's most important bird migration corridors that links Europe, Asia and Africa," Tazpit quoted Israel Ornithological Center director Dan Alon.

"The birds stop around the vicinity of Hula's Lake Agamon to rest, eat and drink, much like human travelers who use hotels, restaurants and pubs," he said. "We have up to 500 million birds and 500 million tourists who come to visit the Hula valley each year."

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