After heading south from Poland, stork seen nesting in Beit She'an Valley, the only known nesting site below sea level
White storks that have nested in Poland are heading south for the winter earlier than usual after an especially hot, dry summer — a development experts are linking to climate change — and some have already been observed in Israel, which is a major migration route on the birds’ route to Africa.
In a rare case that has stoked Israeli ornithologists’ excitement, a stork has been observed over the last month nesting at the Beit She’an Valley, the only known nesting site in the world for storks located below sea level.
The valley is the one of the hottest areas in Israel, with temperatures regularly reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer — another unusual feature for a stork nesting site.
“White storks normally just fly through Israel,” ornithologist Nadav Israeli of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel told the Walla news site. “About 500,000 storks pass Israel in every migration season. However, a small nesting population has in recent decades established itself in the Golan Heights, where some 15 couples nest annually.”