A unique beautiful park
was recently opened in the Hula Valley, about 20 minutes south of
A combined effort of farmers, the Jewish National Fund, and nature conservationsts,
the Hula Valley's newly reclaimed swamplands are now home to over 13,000 cranes
from Siberia. During the three years it takes to get here from Siberia, the
crane family units stay together. In the Hula Valley, one can identify separate
The plan was put into action when it became obvious that, unlike for people-type
is the preferred wintering location of the Grey Crane -- and his family
and friends. These winged visitors have been growing in number over the last
Since the crane's favorite meal is found in the corn crops of the local moshav
and kibbutz farmers, these hard-working agriculturalists were ready to take
out their shot guns in order to save their livelihoods.
But, vision and
wisdom were instead applied, and the farmers along with JNF and nature conservationists,
have turned this would-be pest, into a welcome winter guest.
The farmers bring three
tons of corn daily to a designated area in the Hula Valley. The cranes, intelligent
creatures that they are, eagerly flock here in the early morning and early
evening when the feed is spread out.
In addition to feeding
the cranes here, the Hula Valley has been reflooded - in effect to return
the area to the swamp lands they once were. Now, an area that was until recently
dry land, has ponds and streams. Ducks and geese are among the new inhabitants
of the new park.
The battle to save both agricultural land, and to encourage migrating birds
to winter in Israel, was achieved in a creative and cooperative effort. And
we have gained a wonderful new park with lakes, waterways, a bird lookout
tower, bicycle paths,
and wonderful winged guests!
Text and photos by J. Isaacson.