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SCIENCE . TECHNOLOGY

The Secret of Migrating Birds - Tryst at the Red Sea

52' (ENG, GER, FRE)
Each year in spring, Israel witnesses a unique spectacle. Many millions of migrating birds cross the land bridge between Africa, Asia and Europe.

Their first major roosting place after an exhausting nonstop flight over the African deserts is in southern Israel – a vital stopover. Here they replenish their energy reserves. The flocks of migrating birds are pursued by flocks of ornithologists. Hundreds of birders flood into the port city of Eilat on the Red Sea to take part in the Migration Festival. For a week, Israel's southernmost coastal resort is home to international scientists and amateur birders.

The high concentration of migrating birds in a very limited area provides an ideal opportunity for researchers. Yet the migration phenomenon still poses a mystery to scientists. Why do birds fly thousands of kilometres over continents? What is the origin of bird migration? By means of small backpack transmitters fitted to the birds, the researcher Ran Nathan tracks them in time and space as with a “black box”. This is possible thanks to highly sensitive GPS satellite telemetry. During the migrating season, the skies above Israel are crowded, and the flyways that birds have used for millions of years cross the flight paths of aircraft. Even the collision with a pelican can be dangerous for a plane. It is like a bullet. The ornithologist Yossi Leshem has come up with a solution. He has developed an effective early warning system which is indispensible for airports particularly in coastal regions, where the migrating birds are concentrated.
Original Title: Das Geheimnis der Zugvögel - Große Rast am Roten Meer
Year: 2012
Length: 52' (ENG, GER, FRE)
Resolution: HD
Film by: Martina Treusch
Produced by: Hoferichter & Jacobs, RBB, arte

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