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Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Jerusalem Bird Observatory - another hidden gem in Jerusalem

Hidden away on a tiny, one-acre plot (5,000 square meters) between the Knesset (the Israeli parliament), the Rose Garden and the Supreme Court, sits the Jerusalem Bird Observatory - JBO.

The JBO was established in 1994 by the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel - SPNI - in order to preserve one of the last bird and wildlife refuges in the city.   The site is one of the few traditional birdwatching areas in Jerusalem that has not been harmed by development, and its central location makes it an attractive educational and tourist center for the public.

I wrote an earlier piece about the 500 million birds passing through this country in the autum and spring as they migrate to and from Europe and Africa.

It is possible to stop by the JBO any time of the day and night to sit and watch the birds who stop off at the small pond to rest and refuel on their long journey across continents.

The Hoopoe
Voted Israel's national bird in 2008
At present the JBO is receiving a USAID grant promoting a joint Israeli - Palestinian ringing project. The JBO offers monthly activities to the general public. These include: afternoon bird walks, nature walks, bird banding (ringing) for students from preschool to college age. It is also possible to arrange private bird watching trips to all parts of the country.

 On your next visit to Jerusalem, take the time to enjoy this special place  - only a stone's throw from the Knesset but much more relaxing and spiritually rewarding.

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