Starting in Jerusalem

Street view in  Jerusalem's Old City

Street view in Jerusalem’s Old City

We started in Jerusalem, and travelled south through the Judean Desert, the Negev, and on to the Arava. More to come soon about the southern views. While in Jerusalem I made a quick stop at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory, with its new Visitor Center.

Its wonderful schedule of events, exhibits, bird banding, and tours included a sign about a Farewell Event for the famous Swifts of Jerusalem.

It is absolutely remarkable to watch the Swifts as they swoop and dive at breathtaking speeds over Jerusalem in the spring. Last June I posted much more about these amazing birds, and the special nature of their connection to the Kotel in the Old City.

Click here to learn more: Welcome to the Birds of the Kotel. imageIf you look closely in the photo above, you can discern the images of three speedy little Swifts in flight as they dart in and out of their nesting crevices in the Kotel (Western Wall). They literally never stop!  Common Swifts eat, sleep and even mate in flight!

 But watch this short video clip to witness the Swifts‘ incredible behavior in live action!

While in Jerusalem, I couldn’t help envisioning the ancestors of modern day Turtledoves, Laughing Doves, Rock Doves and other pigeons that populate this busy urban center.

Two thousand years ago, they were raised and bred in ancient Columbaria (Dovecotes) several of which have been uncovered in the Archaeological Park on Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, just on the outskirts of Jerusalem. 

Sign at Ramat Rachel’s Archaeological Park

I also wrote more about this site in a blog post here last year: The Turtledove and the Columbarium.

Syrian Woodpecker parent bringing home a treat

Just before we left Jerusalem, my husband discovered a Syrian Woodpecker family in a tree right across the street from our apartment!

Hungry Baby

It was a treat to watch the parent feed its hungry youngster, who kept peeking eagerly out of the tree.  I was surprised to learn that, unlike in the U.S., where we have many species of Woodpeckers, the Syrian Woodpecker “is the only true woodpecker to occur in Israel.” (A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Israel and the Middle East, by Cottridge & Porter, 2007).

8 thoughts on “Starting in Jerusalem

  1. I know the post is about the birds, but I could barely stop looking at the homes with the trailing flowers. That is gorgeous with so much character of place. The dovecotes are pretty interesting too. Did they raise them for food?

    • Wow, thanks for trying that, Amy. I wonder if the problem has anything to do with my using my blog in Israel and the settings on my iPad. Thanks so much for letting me know! And for resubscribing 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s