German, Israeli and Jordanian experts team up to explore climate change and bird migration

As climate change continues to influence bird migration behaviors, a team of Israeli and German researchers aims to find ways of coping with these ever-evolving patterns.

“The climate is a key factor in migration,” veteran ornithologist Prof. Yossi Leshem told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. “Some of the birds are coming back much earlier to Europe, and then if they come back earlier, they sometimes have no food.”

Leshem, a professor at Tel Aviv University’s zoology department and the founder of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI)’s Israel Ornithology Center, is hosting next week’s “2nd German-Israeli Climate Talks,” which will focus on the impacts of climate change on bird migration and on the Dead Sea region. Organized by Tel Aviv University in collaboration with the German Foreign Affairs Ministry and a number of other partners, the convention will feature a variety of Israeli, German and Jordanian ornithology and climate experts.

At the talks, which follow a similar December event, the experts will both share their knowledge in a series of lectures as well as visit hot spots in the Dead Sea region.

Following the convention, the hope is to launch a comprehensive study on the impacts of climate change on bird migration, with the participation of Israeli, German, Jordanian and Palestinian parties, according to Leshem.

The partners in such a study are likely to include the German federal government, Tel Aviv University, SPNI, Israel’s Science, Technology and Space Ministry and Regional Cooperation Ministry, the Amman Center for Peace and Development, and the Palestine Wildlife Society, he said.

“Germany will play a key role in helping us,” Leshem said. “Germany is very interested in it because most German birds are migrating over Israel, the bottleneck of the Middle East. Most of the storks, mainly from eastern Germany, migrate over Israel.” Continue reading…

(Photo: Leshem meetings with Angela Merkel in 2011. Credit to Yossi Leshem).

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