Living in an urban area surrounded by countryside we see an interesting mix of local birds, whether on our balcony, in the surrounding gardens and parks, in neighbouring villages or on our walks in nearby fields and nature areas. This page is based on what we've learnt from our local observations. On the next page you'll find an a basic overview of some of our most common local birds and where to find them.
The Modi'in area is still an interesting area for birds even if it isn't quite Eilat or the Hula Valley. During the spring and summer migrations in particular we do get quite a large number of raptors passing through, as well as large flocks of storks, pelicans and cranes who come to this area to catch the thermals that will carry them on their way.
Since I moved to Modi'in in the December 1998 the area has gone through some drastic changes, and the bird population has likewise changed somewhat. The town of Modi'in has developed rapidly, growing from around 15,000 residents when we moved in, to closer to 60,000 at the time of writing. The fast growth of the city has meant that large swathes of countryside have been covered in concrete, yet at the same time many parks and gardens have been planted, balconies overflow with flowers, trees have matured and the town itself now contains many bird-friendly zones. A landscaped recreation area including wooded walking trails and a large pond is planned too.
Smyrna (white breasted) kingfisher
We recently moved to a new flat in Modi'in, close to parks and right above a lush garden whose mature fruit trees are just an arm's length away from our windows, while our balcony overlooks our neighbour's flower covered trellis. When I saw this little green oasis and heard its wealth of birdsong I knew that this was the apartment for me. Lately I haven't had much time for going out "into the field", but I had some pretty satisfactory birding from the comfort of my own home.
Many mornings I wake up around dawn to the rambunctious voice of a Smyrna kingfisher which frequents a tree close to my bedroom window. No, there is no water in the area, but don't be fooled by the name, it's just as happy wolfing down some hapless lizard.
By morning the chattering, burbling, bulbuls are busy attacking the fruit trees, there is usually something in season - citrus, mulberries, almonds and a couple of trees with berry like fruits I don't recognise. Sunbirds are zipping around the bright flowers, clicking their mechanical sounding call or bursting into sweet song. Small flocks of goldfinches or greenfinches are also regulars, as well as graceful warblers, Eurasian jays, house sparrows, great tits and palm doves. A pair of kestrels patrols the skies, having taken up residence at the top of a nearby high rise.
Dusk is heralded by the sweet song of a blackbird which likes the tree just beyond the balcony. Often we go to sleep with the poignant mewing of the neighbourhood little owl.
Of course these are just the basic regulars, with the seasons you never know what you might
find visiting the garden, park or balcony. For much of this spring a flock of blackcaps took
full advantage of the ripe mulberries outside my study. It was noisy, but fun to be able
to watch them up close, only a few centimetres from the window. Every so often assorted other
warblers on joined them, fan-tailed, Sardinian, whitethroats and more. During winter I often
noticed a chiffchaff in the bare tree or nearby fence, as well as the occasional stonechat,
redstart or black redstart. A week ago I noticed masked and woodchat shrikes and a black-eared
wheatear in the park across the road.
List of Modi'in area birds
Here is a more complete list of birds we've seen in the Modi'in area, with contributions from
Robert Broch, a visiting birder from Leeds:
Birding intro |
Biblical birds |
Golan and Galilee | Dead Sea and Ein Gedi | Eilat and Negev
Jerusalem area | Mediterranean coast | Modiin area
Copyright 2004 by Leiah Elbaum. Text and illustrations on this page are by Leiah Elbaum. Last updated 17 August 2004.Return to home