Yesterday we visited Gamla, just east of the Sea of Galilee, which is home to the endangered griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus). That is a sad story of competition between human farmers and wolves, with the vultures as the by-kill in a poisoning war. The birds' population is dropping rapidly as a result. As one farmer said, the conservationists will need to choose: either wolves or vultures. The conservationists want to continue trying to keep both populations alive. They currently are engaged in captive breeding programs but are reluctant to take the ultimate step of removing all the vultures from the wild, as was done with the California condors, among other populations.
|Griffon vulture at Gamla|
And not to forget the half dozen or dozen peafowl that are wandering around the grounds at the Gonen Kibbutz hotel, screaming at random intervals. I did run into one cock rattling his feathers magnificently at a hen, who was paying him no mind at all. Poor guy. But maybe she relented after she'd gotten her fill of grubs and bugs.
The one bird I really want to see here in Israel is the national bird, the hoopoe. Apparently the group that went walking along the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv on our first full day saw them. But I haven't seen any yet. I'd better! But for now . . . patience, patience. A hoopoe my way will come.