Most people do not realise that Palestine’s location at the crossroads of Africa, Europe, and Asia makes it a birdwatchers’ paradise. In fact, Palestine is considered one of the most important places for monitoring bird migration in the world. Each year, between March and April, over half a billion birds soar above our tiny stretch of land. The fields of the West Bank become extraordinarily populated with all kinds of birds making their journey to their breeding grounds in Europe. For the smaller birds, our land’s uniquely diverse ecosystem offers a wide range of food sources and temporary habitats essential for their journey. Larger birds such as storks rely on air currents during their journey and rarely land. Palestine’s small size, moderate climate, and diverse ecological topography and geography are a great advantage for birdwatchers. During the migration season, there is a chance to see over 540 bird species.

These migrating birds use three routes as they make their passage: the western path crossing the Mediterranean Sea over Morocco and then into Spain, the central path over Tunisia and into Sicily, and finally the eastern path over the Sinai Peninsula and into Palestine. There are 13 important bird areas in Palestine stretching from Um Al-Rihan forest near Jenin to Wadi Gaza and the Gaza coast in the south. Popular areas include Ein Al-Fashkha, Al-Ouja, and the Botanical gardens in Jericho. Between Jerusalem and Bethlehem there are several designated areas including the Jerusalem Wilderness, Wadi Qadron, and Wadi Al-Makhrour in Beit Jala. Today, there are two ringing stations in the West Bank: one in Beit Jala at the Talitha Kumi School and the second at the Jericho Wildlife Monitoring Station in the Botanical Gardens.

Unfortunately, bird watching is not a popular activity among locals yet, even though worldwide, bird watching is become more and more popular. For those interested in learning about and experiencing bird watching in Palestine, be sure to join this year’s annual bird watching festival, which is organised by the Palestine Wildlife Society. This year the Festival is planned for the 28 and 29 of March, and will be held the Jericho Botanical Gardens and other nature sites in Jericho. Along with birding, events will include guided hikes, traditional Palestinian food, and tours between Jericho and Jerusalem. For more information on the planned activities, please contact the Palestine Wildlife Society at or