The Palestine Sunbirders

The Sunbirders are back and they are looking forward to hitting the playing field! This team truly represents the “Champions of the Flyway” spirit. 3 gifted naturalists from Israel and from Palestine working together in the name of bird conservation. Noam, Ikram and Saed work together year round and their friendship and cooperation show that birds unite people regardless of their background. The Sunbirders won the first COTF race in 2014 and were ranked very high since, they are a force to be reckoned with and have their eyes on the cup.

Meet the Team:

Saed Shomaly

Saed Shomaly from Bethlehem is a member of the Palestine Wildlife Society since 2002. In 2014, Saed and his team members won the “champions of the flyway” race, hence he knows the game and he is very motivated to take the title back. He is a birdwatcher and finds peace in watching birds, so he decided to help them. For this cause, he is participating in workshops to raise awareness for bird conservation in schools and universities both in Palestine and abroad especially about the illegal hunting and caging of songbirds like the goldfinches. Saed took some training courses in bird taxonomy and ringing and he is trained in helping wounded birds of prey that suffered from hunter attacks. He met Khaled in an eco-tourism course in which Saed trained the participants in birdwatching and bird identification. Noam and Saed met in a bird ringing course in Jordan, where Noam was the trainer, many years ago and they are friends ever since. Saed enjoys what he is doing for bir

Ikram Quttainh

Ikram Quttaineh is an ecotourism expert from Jerusalem. She is highly interested in nature and wildlife that she shares her knowledge with Palestinian ministries and elsewhere in workshops, conferences, and the local people. For Ikram birds are gifts of God and she is concerned that they will be able to continue their way to and through Palestine every year on their migration route. Ikram enjoys birdwatching with the team members since she first met them in four years. Ikram decided to help the birds and through racing for these gorgeous feathered creatures, she can be actively engaged in the conservation efforts against their illegal hunting and trapping of songbirds in Croatia and Serbia.

Noam Weiss

oam Weiss from Beer Ora in Israel works for the SPNI and is the manager of the IBRCE in Eilat. Noam is a birdwatcher since he was 10 years old and he is very passionate about his work and hobby. He already took part twice in the Champions of the Flyway race and, together with Saed, came back with the highest score in 2014. Noam loves birds and his main goal is to protect them and make sure they will have a save journey on their migration. Hence, the IBRCE is not just a place for people to enjoy watching birds or to collect data for research but first it is a sanctuary for migratory and local birds to refill their energy reserves. Noam and the whole IBRCE team, armed with state of the art Zeiss optics, are constantly working on enhancing the site for the birds. Another big challenge Noam is facing every day is the negative impact humans can have on birds by destroying their habitats, hunting them or building wind parks in their main migration route. Hence, Noam is guiding groups to create awareness and he is fighting against negative human impacts directly. Racing for a good cause, to protect birds from illegal hunting just combines his passions for birdwatching and bird conservation.