Migrating Birds Know No Boundaries
Camden — Dr. Yossi Leshem is Israel’s best known ornithologist and environmental educator, with an international following among both scientists and the bird-watching communities in Europe and North America.
Leshem will be speaking at the Camden Public Library Monday, July 7, at 4 p.m., on Migrating Birds Know No Boundaries, co-hosted by Mid-Coast Audubon Society, Coastal Senior College, and Congregation Adas Yoshuron of Rockland.
“Twice every year like clockwork, half a billion birds of 280 different species fly through Israel on their way to and from Africa, Asia, and Europe,” said Leshem in a news release. “The Holy Land is eclipsed as the sky is filled with birds from three continents. Although many marvel at this sight, what few understand is how these birds provide opportunities for peace in the Middle East.
“Migratory birds know no boundaries. They cross thousands of kilometres without regard to national borders and are equally at home in one country as the next. For these reasons, they are our best diplomats. Over my 40-year career as one of Israel's leading bird experts, I have personally seen enemies turned into friends in a region rife with conflict all because of the flight of a single bird.”
Leshem is in this country for a two-week visit, making Camden his first speaking engagement, before going on to the Schoodic Educational Center, Audubon’s Hog Island facility as a visiting faculty, and the Audubon Society in Connecticut.
Leshem is a professor at Tel Aviv University and is the founder and director of the International Center for Bird Migration. He was the former director of The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel — the country’s largest not-for-profit organization. He is also a retired lieutenant colonel in the Israeli Air Force.
His multi-media presentation at The Camden Public Library will focus on three aspects of his past research and current projects: how his doctoral research resulted in a 76 percent reduction in mid-air collisions between military aircraft and large migrating birds — saving the lives of many pilots and saving the Israeli Air Force over one billion dollars since 1984; how an Israeli ornithologist — who is also an orthodox Jew — continues to work co-operatively with his Palestinian and Jordanian colleagues even in times of serious political crisis; and how he came to design and implement a national and cross-border project utilizing Barn Owls and Kestrels as natural pest control agents — dramatically reducing the use of toxic pesticides by Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian farmers.
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