SEEN - SE European Bird Migration Network
Birds of Palestine. A decade of ringing and census data
Simon Awad
Environmental Education Center EEC, P. O. Box 67765, East Jerusalem, Palestine

The birds of Palestine (West Bank and Gaza) have not been officially studied on a large scale level partly because of the scarcity of organizations or institutes committed to such a large project.  Nevertheless regional studies and anecdotal accounts suggest that the historical Palestine (West Bank, Gaza, and Israel) has more than 530 species. Unfortunately, Palestine does not have comprehensive census information based on standardized scientific methodology. However, we combined existing data with our extensive ringing and monitoring efforts and we identified 347 bird species in Palestine. We believe that this number is a conservative estimate and would exceed 400 species or more over the subsequent years with continued monitoring.

In the West Bank, two official ringing stations, founded in 2000, are operated by the Environmental Education Center (EEC). 

The first station, Talitha Kumi Ringing Station (TKRS), is located west of the Bethlehem district (31º42'N, 35º12'E), in the western part of Beit Jala city, in the Botanical garden of Talitha Kumi high school. TKRS is situated in a mountainous area with Mediterranean characteristics. 

The second station is situated in the Jericho District (31º51'N, 35º27'E), in Jericho City and called Jericho Ringing Station (JRS). Jericho City is located in the Jordan Valley north of the Dead Sea. It is characterized by its arid climate, but is also considered as an oasis because of its natural springs and availability of surface water.

Since its establishment, the EEC has been dedicated to increasing public awareness of environmental issues and overseeing research projects by investigating the natural history of the region, such as the study and conservation of the birds of Palestine.  During the last 10 years, the EEC team has managed to make tremendous progress despite the limited resources and logistic obstacles. The EEC managed to (1) develop partnerships with international organizations and institutes including the South Eastern European Bird Migration Network (SEEN), (2) establish two bird ringing stations in Palestine, and (3) sponsor conservation and field research projects involving bird ringing, monitoring, and surveys.
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