The JBO Kingfishers

The JBO Kingfishers are a group of young birders and volunteers from the Nili and David Jerusalem Bird Observatory. They are active in our birding groups and in the bird ringing program. The team will be lead by JBO’s founding director, Amir Balaban.

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JBO logo

Meet the Team:

Amir Balaban

Amir is the Director of Urban Nature Conservation for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. Amir is a true pioneer in the field of urban nature and is the co-Founder and Founding Director of the Jerusalem Bird Observatory and Director of the Gazelle Valley Park in Jerusalem, Israel’s largest urban nature project. He is in the process of developing a national urban nature masterplan and supervising projects in over a dozen over cities and localities, both in Israel and internationally. Amir is a personality on Israeli television, producing and presenting “6 on the map” a regular feature on one of Israel’s primetime magazine shows. For 30 years he has been guiding wildlife tours in Israel, Africa and Antarctica where he shares his impressive knowledge about birds. Amir is a talented filmmaker, photographer and artist. He was the last person to film a leopard in Israel. He is a graduate of the Jerusalem Bird Club and passionate about involving kids and teens in birding and conservation.

Haim Bar

My name is Haim, I’m 17 years old from Jerusalem. Since I was 9 years old, I’ve volunteered at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory. I like to know as much as I can about birds, therefore I read books and watch movies about birds. At school I’m learning geography as major class and I always try to find the connection to birds. I am very happy to take part at the Champions of the Flyway 2020 – usually I go birding in my neighborhood or at the bird observatory, and the race is a great opportunity to explore the Negev desert. Especially, I am looking forward to watching the Houbara Bustard – they are rare and I hope to see some during the race this year.

Yotam Gabbay

My name is Yotam Gabbay, I am 10 years old, and live in Jerusalem. From a very youngage I loved nature, especially animals, but also plants and stones. I began to watch andexplore about birds when I was about 7 years old, and since then I regularly participate in the activities of the Jerusalem Bird Observatory. I now know to identify many of the birds in Israel, especially in Jerusalem, but elsewhere as well. I like photography and enjoy taking good pictures of birds. Another hobby that I have related to birds, is collecting feathers that I find. I am very excited and looking forward to participating in the Champions of the Flyway as part of the team of the Jerusalem Bird Observatory!

Zohara Herman

Zohara Herman, 16 years old. For the last couple years, I have become interested in birdwatching and I have been volunteering with the bird ringing at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory. My favorite birds are kingfishers and wrynecks. This is the first time that I will be participating in the Champions of the Flyway and I am looking forward to the experience.

Ofri Raz

My name is Ofri, and I’m a national service volunteer in the Jerusalem Bird Observatory. I’ve loved birds since I was little, and started birding seriously about two years ago, when I started my national service in the JBO. My favorite bird is the Palastine Sunbird. I of course love the bright colors of the male, but the main reason I love it is because you can see it everywhere, in the city and outside of it. I’m competing in The Champions of the Flyway for the unique experience. It’s a break from life for 24 hours of birding. The bird I’d like to see the most in the competition is the Arabian Green Bee-eater. I mostly bird inside the city of Jerusalem, so I haven’t had a chance to see a Bee-eater before, and I’d love to see one in the wild!

Gali Farkas

My name is Gali Farkas. I’m 10 years old and I live in Jerusalem.
When I was 7 years old, I joined a birding group at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory (JBO). I really like birding and this is my fourth year in the group. When I heard about the Champions of the Flyway I was really excited because it gives me an opportunity to learn about new species of birds. Besides birding, I love hiking and being in nature.