After Four Years, Endangered Iraqi Bird Returns to Israel

First nesting of the bird outside Iraq was discovered in northern Israel in 2006, but had not been seen again since 2008.

Four years after it was last spotted in Israel, the Basra Reed warbler, an endangered bird who's nesting ground is in Iraq, has returned to Agmon Hahula. The Basra Reed was found during a survey conducted on Wednesday by birdwatchers.

The Basra Reed, who usually nests in swamps around Basra in Iraq, from which it takes its name, is in severe danger of extinction.

In 2006, birdwatchers with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, the late Amit Geffen and Yoav Pearlman, discovered the nesting of Basra Reeds in the Hula Valley, the first outside Iraq.

The important discovery was received with a great deal of excitement, both locally and internationally.

The Society for the Protection of Nature said that the birdwatching center focused much attention on the nesting site and was in constant touch with the local farmers in order to make sure the birds were not disturbed. However, despite the efforts, no Basra Reeds were seen in the valley since 2008 and there were concerns that they had disappeared.

On Wednesday morning, during a survey conducted by the Society for the Protection of Nature, a Basra Reed was found by researcher Ela Rimon just minutes before completing the survey.

The manager of the birdwatching center in the Hula Valley, Nadav Israeli, said that this "emphasizes how important it is to take care of habitats because even if the bird is not currently there, it's good that it has somewhere to come back to."

Israeli added that the reason the Basra Reed is facing extinction is damage being done to its nesting grounds in Iraq, so it is particularly "important to preserve other sites it can nest in."

Read this article in Hebrew

Ela Dotan