A desert bird in the hand

June 9th, 2010


MITZPE RAMON, ISRAEL — While driving to our outcrops today north of Makhtesh Ramon, we came across four researchers catching and tagging small birds in the early morning.  They are from the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) and are studying the migratory habits of small birds which they trap in mist nets deployed over a small patch of water (Hemet Cistern).  The birds are experiencing a population explosion because the drought recently broke in the Negev and seeds are unusually abundant.  Some of these birds migrate yearly to India and back.  (Like many other Israelis, come to think of it!)

Half of the bird-banding team at Hemet Cistern, north of Mitzpe Ramon.

It is always fun to participate in the universal culture of science.  Scientists around the world love to talk about their work and ideas with curious strangers, especially if they are also scientists.

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