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Songbirds are an integral part of the harmonious atmosphere of the Weizmann Institute of Science’s campus, yet their numbers have declined in recent years. In an effort to attract songbirds back to the campus, Yossi Shohat of the Department of Veterinary Resources and head of the Environmental Enrichment and Training Program has placed feeding stations and nesting boxes throughout the campus.
Two factors contribute to the decline in the population of songbirds on campus: the first is dominant bird species, such as the hooded crow and the Indian myna, which raid the songbirds’ nests to steal their eggs and kill their chicks; the second is the ongoing construction, which drives the birds away.
“My goal is to protect this population and restore the ecological balance that has been violated,” says Shohat.
The feeding stations have been strategically placed in areas where people tend to gather, with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of conserving nature and the environment—and, of course, to allow them to enjoy listening to and photographing the beautiful songbirds.
There are three types of feeding stations: one containing sugared water to attract hummingbirds; one with peanuts intended to attract small songbirds, such as sparrows and great tits; and the third containing seeds to attract a variety of small birds. The nesting boxes are intended for the great tits.
Shohat: “Now we just have to wait for the first ‘brave’ songbird to discover the stations and relay the message to other members.”
This initiative is part of the project “Nesting Boxes for Owls and Birds of Prey” located on campus, turning the Weizmann Institute of Science into a salient contributor to the field of ecology, nature conservation and the environment.
Our thanks go out to Boaz Cohen and Nir Cohen of the Gardening Development and Maintenance Division, who assisted in establishing the project.