A combined effort of farmers, the Jewish National Fund, and nature conservationists, 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, Israel, one can identify separate family units.
The plan was put into action when it became obvious that, unlike for people-type tourists, Israel 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 few years. 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!
Rent a bicycle-built-for-two, electric golf cart, mountain bike, kiddie shlepper…
Where: 20 minutes south of Kiryat Shemona, Rte 90. Be sure to enter Hula-Agmon Park.