The Author


As the sun rises, the colors of the sky make a breathtaking picture. The changes from night to day, something we take for granted, is magical.

Israel is a very special country. From its people, food, landscape, unique museums, history and seeing the Torah come alive.

bird centers in israel

There is much to write about.

As the sun rises, the colors of the sky make a breathtaking picture. The changes from night to day, something we take for granted, is magical.  Slowly, the Israeli blue sky with white fluffy clouds is appearing.

My husband likes to go to shul (synagogue) and make the early first minyan (prayer quorum) on Shabbat morning. Sitting outside with my dog Patches, I take advantage of the time enjoying daybreak and watching nature at its very best.

We live in the Negev, and the Negev is known for some of Israel’s most beautiful and unusual birds. Located in Sde Boker in the Negev Desert is the Ramat HaNegev Birding center, which specializes in desert birds. They have a Facebook page.  Unfortunately, it is only in Hebrew, but the captions translate nicely and from the pictures give a good idea of the birds of the Negev.

In the early morning the air is cool. As I make myself comfortable, coffee in hand and with the day just beginning, a couple of magnificent big, black crows come soaring gracefully across the blue Israeli sky, their wings flapping with all their might to get to a rooftop across the street from me.

Reaching their destination, they crow with a cawing sound, calling the rest of the gang. Within seconds a large flock of crows are overhead. Patches always barks at them.

In our yard, I am fascinated how the small and medium-sized birds are walking ever so carefully, looking for bread. Somehow they seem to know that they will find some, as each morning we put out a little bit. Their small becks peck at the bread. Their determination to find the bread and manage to keep their piece is something to see. If the bigger birds fly near them, it’s game over. The big birds win.

We have ravens that live on our roof. These blackish/grayish birds with some white around their necks and backs are scavengers who will eat anything, edible or not. Today they were nibbling on a plastic grocery bag that was on the road.

Israel has the Most Beautiful, Colored Birds

Mother Bird has a special job. She needs to find, hold on to and fly away with the bread she has found to feed her young who are waiting for her on a tree top.

We have some of the tiniest, most beautiful, colored birds I have ever seen. Birds with yellow, blue and green, the size of a small finger chirp away. Their singing sounds like a fine-tuned choir.

The Negev has wild green budgies. They look like the kind you would see in a cage in a home, but these are wild. The first time I saw them, I thought someone’s birds had flown away. They walk across the yard like they own the place.

And since this is a posting about the birds of Israel, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the national bird of Israel.

In 2008, Israel had a six-month contest to find our national bird. With 10 birds named in the primaries, the winner was a ​h​oopoe (duchifat in Hebrew).

The ​hoopoe, is a crested bird with a unique appearance which is mentioned in Jewish stories about King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. It is common throughout Israel.

I mustn’t forget to tell you about our woodpeckers.  We have woodpeckers all around our trees. Their pecking sounds like a small hammer giving single bangs in the ground.  Woodpeckers are unique in their appearance, with black stripes across their chests, red or yellow truffle of feather on the top of their heads and sharp pointy beaks. It is so interesting to watch them interact with other birds.

Sitting outside, sipping my coffee, I am grateful to be living in our homeland and enjoying God’s handiwork, for only He could have produced nature at its best. God, without a doubt, is a master artist. The colors, shapes and sizes He chose for the birds are beyond human imagination

Very quickly 7:30 arrives. My husband is home from shul, the cool air is warming up, and in the background of the singing birds I hear helicopters and jets.

If you come to Israel or live here and are interested in visiting birding centers, have a look at the Israel Ornithological Center site.


Article by Miriam Goodman

Miriam Goodman made Aliyah from Canada with her family in 1994. She lives in the Negev. She is the mother of three, the safta of 13 precious Sabra grandchildren and a great-grandmother. She is known for her 'Safta Cookies'. Writing is a hobby and she has a blog called Miriam's Words.