Bird catches fish from the Kinneret
Bird catches fish from the KinneretIsrael news photo: Flash 90

An Israeli researcher who works with endangered birds of prey spoke to Arutz Sheva this week to explain the “spy bird” phenomenon.

There have been several reports from Arab countries accusing Israel of sending birds equipped with special spy equipment to conduct surveillance. Most recently, Hezbollah accused Israel of sending an eagle with a spy transmitter to Lebanon.

The “spy equipment” was a simple tracking device meant to help scientists follow the bird’s migration pattern, researcher Gilad Friedman said.

“The bird they hunted was an eagle tracked by the Chai Bar Carmel reserve… We in Tel Aviv University also track birds of prey. We put a GPS on them, but they don’t serve to conduct surveillance, only for research,” he explained.

The “spy bird” phenomenon illustrates the lack of awareness in Arab countries, where hunters target even species that are in danger of extinction, he said.

“What interests the hunters is having their picture taken with the head of the bird they hunted, and hanging it up. They hunt everything that moves… It’s a huge loss for nature,” he warned.

“We want to restore as many species as we can to nature, and our project is about species conservation,” he added.

Many birds of prey fly over Arab countries on their way to Africa or Russia, he noted. “They nest in Israel, then continue to their destination. The snake eagles migrate to Africa via Egypt and Chad, the buzzards migrate to Russia through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.”