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White Stork Migration

The September farewell flights over the European countryside are for the lucky ones, but recovery breaks in Israel's wetlands is a sure thing to see

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Since long-long ago the European countryside has been home to white storks. They have always been in friendly relations with local country folk and nested close to people's homes on various pillars. If not for the cold, the birds could stay there forever, but frosty winters force them to leave. The storks are at home from late spring to early autumn; then they fly away together with their young. Lucky farmers living in European villages see the flocks gathering in the skies over fields in September for the last nostalgic flight over the native lands before they set off to the strange areas, namely, to India and Africa.

Migratory routes vary, but one of the greatest spots to witness migrating white storks is in the Israeli wetlands where the birds make a pause to feed for the rest of their journey. Stork watching hotspots featuring tens of thousands of birds include Lake Hula in the north of Israel, Eilat salt marshes in the south, and around Nitzana in the western part of Negev Desert. The storks take a break in Israel on their way south between October and November, and then also on their way back north between March and April.

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