Pelican Migration in Emek Hefer – Viker Lookout and Agamon Hefer

Around 40,000 pelicans fly over Israel during migration. The best places at Emek Hefer to see them are Viker Lookout and Agamon Hefer.

Update: my latest visit to Emek Hefer was on 16.10.2022. There were pelicans at Viker Lookout. However, I did not see pelicans at Agamon Hefer.

Note: for additional info about animals and wildlife, check out Zoos and Aquariums in Israel‎.

Are there Migrating Pelicans Now?

Let’s start with the most common question: when and where can we see migrating birds? Bird migration occurs during fall and spring (usually March – April and October – November). And the best way to find out whether pelicans are visiting is by checking Birdsbase.com. Using this link, you can see the list of recent pelican observations.

You can also check social media. Here are several useful links:

  • Viker Lookout location on Instagram and Viker Lookout tag on Instagram – scroll down to the most recent posts and check the dates.
  • Agamon Hefer location on Instagram and Agamon Hefer tag on Instagram – scroll down to the most recent posts and check the dates.
  • Pelicans tag on Instagram – scroll down to the most recent posts and check the locations and the dates.
  • Agamon Hula constantly updates their Facebook page. And if there are pelicans at Agamon Hula, there is a high chance they are also staying at other places in Israel.

What is the best time of the day to see pelicans?

Migrating pelicans fly during the day, and in the evening, they look for a place to sleep. Thus, the best time to see them is in the morning or the evening (starting an hour before sunset). But from my experience, there is a higher chance of seeing them in the morning at Viker Lookout (maybe due to feeding hours). Therefore, visit in the morning, preferably before 9:00.

Where do Pelicans Love to Stay?

When pelicans migrate, they are looking for shelter and food. Thus they prefer ponds with fish. Their favorite places in Emek Hefer are Viker Lookout and Agamon Hefer. There are several other places in northern Israel where pelicans love to stay: Agamon Hula, Hula Nature ReserveEin Afek, and Maagan Michael.

Pelican Feeding

There are pelican feedings at Viker Lookout. But unfortunately, there is no timetable. The only place where I saw notifications is on Emek Hefer Facebook page. There are many notifications on this page. Moreover, they are told about feeding only several hours in advance. Thus, it is not easy to get to a pelican feeding.

The Common Pelican

The weight of the common pelican is 8 – 11 kg, with a wingspan of 2.5 – 3 meters. That makes them the largest migrating bird that crosses Israel. And around 40,000 pelicans fly over Israel twice a year, in Spring and Autumn.

The Common Pelican
The Common Pelican

Pelican Migration

If you have been following my blog for some time, you know that Israel is a good place for bird lovers. That is because Israel lies on the migration path of many birds (you can read more about bird migration at Bird Ringing at Ein Afek).

Bird Migration Routes
Bird Migration Routes

Emek Hefer

Hefer Valley is part of the Sharon area in the central coastal plain of Israel. Big parts of Hefer valley are dedicated to agriculture. And farmers understood many years ago that millions of migrating birds could hurt agriculture. For example, a pelican eats 1 kg of fish a day. And a squadron of five thousand pelicans eats 5 tons of fish daily.

As a result, they created feeding places for birds. This form of “tax” is beneficial for both sides. Birds know where they can find food, and other fields and fish tanks remain unaffected. Moreover, if the feeding place becomes a tourist attraction, tourists pay for the food (a win-win situation). For example, when you enter Agamon Hula, you pay several NIS for the crane project. The money goes to buy corn for hundreds of thousands of migrating cranes.

Interactive map of the area:

Offers:

  • Hotels, hostels, and appartments in this area:
Booking.com

There are two main pelican feeding places in Israel. The first is at Agamon Hula, and the second is at Viker Lookout.

Viker Lookout – Mishmar Hasharon Reservoir

Viker Lookout is a lookout point at Emek Hefer. It is one of the best places in Israel to watch pelican migration.

The easiest way to reach this lookout is by using this Link to Waze.

I created a dedicated article for this place. You can find all information at Viker Lookout.

Here are several photos from Viker Lookout:

Agamon Hefer

Agamon Hefer is not far from Viker Lookout (see the map at the beginning of this post). And I created a dedicated article for Agamon Hefer. In this scope, I wanted to mention that I visited Agamon Hefer about ten times in recent years but never saw pelicans there. Even during the migration season. Nonetheless, I am mentioning this place since I saw photos of pelicans from there.

Agamon Hefer
Agamon Hefer

And since we are traveling along the Alexander River, I want to mention another animal-related attraction. It is Turtle Bridge at Alexander River, the place to see Nile Softshell Turtles.

Nile Softshell Turtles
Nile Softshell Turtles

Common Questions

What are the best places to see pelican migration?

The best places are Agamon Hula and Viker Lookout.

When is the best time to see pelican migration?

Mid-October is usually the best time to visit, but this can be affected by climate and other factors. Therefore I suggest following relevant channels on social media to know the exact dates.

Are there pelicans right now?

The best way to know is by checking Birdsbase.com and social media. See the full answer above.

What is the best time of the day to see pelicans?

Since pelicans are migrating, they are only looking for places to sleep. Thus, the best time to see them is in the morning (best before 9:00).

Additional Birdwatching Places

If you love birds, check out the following places:

Additionally, see Zoos and Aquariums in Israel‎ – Full Review (Overview of 30+ places)

Summary

Viker lookout is one of the best places in Israel to watch pelican migration. And it is free. The only downside is the road. Or actually, the lack of road. My tip would be not to wash the car before visiting. Because of the dirt road, you will need to wash it after your visit.

Moreover, you can combine Viker Lookout with a visit to Agamon Hefer or Turtle Bridge at Alexander River for an excellent half-day experience.

Have you ever been to the Viker lookout? And what about Agamon Hefer? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!

Stay Tuned!

To find out more about animals in Israel, see birds and animals.

   

Additional Resources

Here are several resources that I created to help travelers: And if you have any questions then check out Useful Information For Tourists To Israel.  
Did not find what you were looking for? Leave a comment below, and I will do my best to answer your questions.

Lev Tsimbler

Lev from israel-in-photos.com. You can contact me at hi@israel-in-photos.com

8 thoughts on “Pelican Migration in Emek Hefer – Viker Lookout and Agamon Hefer

  1. שלום!
    היום ראיתי כתבה על נדידת שקנאים, ובעקבותיו גם הגעתי לעמוד שלך.
    רציתי לשאול איזה זן
    (genus Pelecanus /species ?)
    של שקנאי הוא זה שעובר דרכנו.
    תודה!
    שמעון

    1. Hi Shimon,

      The pelicans that fly over Israel belong to the great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus).

  2. bass”D
    Greetings
    I want to see the pelican migration When is it going to be the most?. and where? And how can you find out?.
    Thanks in advance

    1. שלום רחל,
      שיא העונה הוא בדרך כלל באמצע אוקטובר. ניתן לראות אותם במצפה ויקר.

  3. I was there yesterday at an expensive lookout and all the pelicans and those that look like ducks land in the second pool that has no access. I wanted to go home right next to the car all the birds probably got a clearance and literally quantities of ducks and pelicans took off for a further journey north (not clear why) all from the second pond. I was really disappointed to know that the lookout actually misleads everyone and disturbs the birds' silence and they all prefer the second pond.
    As mentioned yesterday when I got there a band came to land in the pool of the lookout and at the last minute they continued to the second pool which as mentioned is closed to visitors.

    1. תודה על העדכון.
      השקנאים העדיפו את הבריכה שליד המצפה כי האכילו אותם שם. כנראה שהשנה לא מאכילים.
      התחילו להאכילם בשמורת הטבע החולה והציבו שם מצלמות (https://www.parks.org.il/new/pelecanus/).

      1. צבי שלום,
        השקנאים יתחילו לחזור באפריל וקשה לדעת היכן הם יעצרו. אם ימשיכו להאכיל אותם באגמון החולה, אז יותר יבחרו לעצור שם.

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