Around 40,000 pelicans fly over Israel during migration. The best places at Emek Hefer to see them are Viker Lookout and Agamon Hefer.
Note: for additional info about animals and wildlife, check out Zoos and Aquariums in Israel.
Table of Contents
- 1 Are there Migrating Pelicans Now?
- 2 What is the best time of the day to see pelicans?
- 3 Where do Pelicans Love to Stay?
- 4 Pelican Feeding
- 5 The Common Pelican
- 6 Pelican Migration
- 7 Emek Hefer
- 8 Viker Lookout – Mishmar Hasharon Reservoir
- 9 Agamon Hefer
- 10 Common Questions
- 11 Additional Birdwatching Places
- 12 Summary
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 Reserve, Ein Afek, and Maagan Michael.
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.
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).
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:
- Hotels, hostels, and apartments in this area:
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 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.
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.
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.
The best way to know is by checking Birdsbase.com and social media. See the full answer above.
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:
- My favorite places to see bird migration:
- Lovely short family hikes to see birds:
- Agamon Poleg – Short Birding Family Trip around Lake Udim
- Agamon Hefer – Visitors Guide – Bird Watching Park near Netanya
- Hod HaSharon Park – Park by Ecological Lake
- Taninim Stream Nature Reserve
- Hula Nature Reserve and Agamon Hula versus Hula Nature Reserve – Which one is Better?
- Rosh Tzipor Birdwatching Center
- Ein Afek Nature Reserve and Bird Ringing at Ein Afek Nature Reserve
- For people who love parrots:
Additionally, see Zoos and Aquariums in Israel – Full Review (Overview of 30+ places)
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.
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!
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.