a different side of Israel

Unusual bird found in Tel Aviv

Sudanese GooseI never expected to see what I saw when exiting the Tel Aviv Central train station Wednesday afternoon. Arriving at Arlozorov Street to catch a bus west, I suddenly saw a large, duck-like bird hopping on a grassy area near the street. I was so taken back by the sight of such an unusual looking fowl being in a place where normally only pigeons and sparrows are, that I took a few moments to watch it. The duck-like creature was actually larger than a wild duck, which I presumed it was. Another person took a photo of it with his cell phone, which I could not, since mine doesn’t have a suitable camera. I soon found out why the “duck” was hopping – it didn’t have a left foot; only a stump that looked like it was hatched that way. I tried to approach it to throw it some of a bagel I had with me, but the bird didn’t seem to know that this was food. It must have been truly a wild creature that must have strayed off course in the process of migration as we are now in the waterfowl migration season.

The bird must have been exhausted, and it tried to take off and fly. After a few tries, one of which caused it to crash land almost in front of a departing bus, it finally did get airborne and it circled the area and flew to a large park across the street, where I presume it again landed.

Upon returning home later that night, I looked it up from my recollection of its appearance and was surprised when it turned out to be known as an Egyptian Goose, also known in Hebrew as an “Avaz Sudani” (Sudanese goose). It must have flown all the way from its usual winter home, somewhere in Africa, and was going north in the spring migration. How or why it chose to land in the middle of Tel Aviv is anybody’s guess, and its decision to land where it did must have been the result of sheer exhaustion.

I have included a picture of what it looks like in case someone else reading this blog may have seen it too. I can only hope that maybe it was seen by enough people to be reported to the Nature Parks Authority and maybe was caught and taken to Safari Park to be cared for until it can continue it journey. Or maybe it might like its new home here and decide to stay.

In any case, I’m sure you’ll agree that this was something unusual and out of the ordinary for a mid-week afternoon in Tel Aviv.

1 Comment

  1. Hello there,

    I’m a Dutch birdwatcher and have been birdwathching in Israel in March and April 2009.
    In Yorkan park in Tel Aviv I saw this Egyptian goose as well and I’m sorry to say that I don’t think it’s a very rare sighting because E.goose nowadays can be seen almost anywhere in Europe, Northern Africa and the middle east.

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