"Migrating birds know no boundaries" the israeli air force as a test case

Yossi Leshem*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Israel's unique location at the junction of three continents has created one of the most important "bottlenecks", with 500 million birds crossing twice a year during the autumn and spring migrations. The Israeli Air Force (IAF), maneuvering through this same air space, suffered from numerous aircraft-bird collisions. During three decades, eleven fighter planes crashed and 75 aircraft were involved in collisions with damage between 1-10 million dollars each, as well as the lives of three pilots lost. A large proportion of collisions (74%) involved migrating birds with soaring birds causing the most significant damage. Over the last three decades, long-term research of soaring birds has been conducted with a network of ground observers, motorized-glider, drones and radar stations, reducing collisions by 76% and saving the IAF since 1984 1.3 billion dollars (not to mention the lives of pilots and birds). In a joint research project of the Max Planck Institute in Radolfzell Germany and the Tel Aviv University in Israel, funded by the German Ministry of the Environment, we tracked 120 migrating White Storks to which satellite transmitters had been attached. Founded on this joint research, an educational curriculum was developed for 300 schools in Israel, based on an Internet site, www.birds.org.il, which enabled the online tracking of the migrating birds. In addition, during the last decade research data about vultures, pelicans and cranes with satellite transmitters has been entered into the site's database, as well as the data collected from a Russian meteorological radar, MRL-5, which was adapted to track birds and is active during the seven migration months every year.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2017
Event57th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences, IACAS 2017 - Tel Aviv and Haifa, Israel
Duration: 15 Mar 201716 Mar 2017


Conference57th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences, IACAS 2017
CityTel Aviv and Haifa


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