Winged visitors stop over in Jordan as bird migration begins

Thursday, September 12, 2019

AMMAN — The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) on Wednesday announced the beginning of the autumn bird migration season, noting that migrating flocks started to arrive in the Kingdom at the end of August. 

The Jordan Valley is a key part of the Rift Valley-Red Sea Flyway that functions as a bridge that connects Europe, Africa and Asia, supporting a variety of unique habitats, in addition to being a primary pathway for millions of migratory birds that cross it annually, an RSCN statement said. 

A total of 37 varieties of migratory birds maintain flight by using rising air currents, annually travelling on the flyway. At least five of these species are globally endangered, including white and black storks, buzzards, eagles and vultures, according to the RSCN.

Migratory birds in the southern hemisphere use the Rift Valley-Red Sea Flyway to return to Europe and the northern hemisphere in the spring. On their journey, more than 1.5 million birds stop over in places like the Jordan Valley to rest and drink water.

The society added that the Jordan Valley represents a “bottleneck” for an array of bird populations that flock to the location via a number of paths, in addition to being a habitat for falcons and eagles. 

Jordan lies on one of the most vital bird migration paths in the world, through which birds from Europe pass during the spring and autumn migratory seasons, Director of the RSCN’s Bird Project Department Tariq Qaneer said in the statement. 

A total of 435 bird species have been identified in Jordan, more than 300 of which are migratory and pass through the Kingdom on their way from Europe to Africa and vice versa, he added.

Qaneer highlighted the spring migration of predatory birds through Jordan, as they make their way to mating areas in Europe, noting that their numbers could surpass the 1 million mark, including the Common Buzzard, the Honey Buzzard, the Steppe Eagle and the Eurasian Sparrowhawk. 

In a number of nature reserves, the RSCN provides designated areas for bird lovers to watch the creatures as they land for rest, food or to mate near water bodies, according to the statement.

Source: Jordan Times