Israel lies at the heart of one of the world's largest migration routes and twice a year, hundreds of millions of birds pass through the region on their way to and from their Eurasian breeding grounds.
Most of these birds only stop for a brief refueling session and continue the journey, others remain to winter.
The importance of Israel's few remaining natural habitats is crucial to the survival of millions of birds. Migrants rely on these sites as stop-over and refueling sites before crossing the vast strip of deserts to the south, or immediately following the crossing.
Such magnitude of migration brings with it a wide array of opportunities and also great responsibility to the well-being of migrants.
The Israel Ornithological Center is in part of the SPNI (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel).
Our ultimate goal is conservation of birds and natural habitats in Israel, and this is achieved through several means:
- Research and field work.
- Education and public awareness campaigns
- Bird related Eco tourism.
The IOC is directed by Dan Alon and has a full time staff of around 15 workers.
All IOC workers are experienced and dedicated birders that grew up in the Israel birding scene and know it from the inside out. The IOC operates several Birdwatching centers throughout the country, each concentrating on the birds and habitats of the region.
Information about the various birding centers can be found here:
In order to keep Israel the Birdwatching treasure it is many conservation issues still need to be addressed and birding Eco tourism is an important way to raise funds, and more importantly awareness, to these issues. In recent years we have invested a lot of time and money in the development of large scale international birding events like the Eilat and Hula Bird Festivals and initiatives like the Champions of the Flyway. These events draw great attention in the birding world, bring hundreds of birders to Israel and generate significant funds that allow us to invest in long term monitoring projects and truly make a difference for the birds.
IOC tour leaders are first and foremost passionate birders that spend most of their time in the field and as such have an intimate knowledge of the country's birds and wildlife.
These events and our work with many tour operators that bring birders to Israel actually “vote” with their feet and money, sending a clear statement of support to local communities and agencies that birds and nature are viable fund generators in Israel.
We remind you that all this is done by a handful of dedicated birders as part of a nonprofit organization so donations and support are always welcome!
Another way to take part is to join one of our incredible Birdwatching festivals in the Hula Valley or Eilat. The proceeds from these events are funneled directly to field and conservation work for the birds of Israel.