Info Night revisits Soaring Birds of Eilat project
Attendees at Earthwatch's Info Night were treated to a bird-enthusiast's delight when former Earthwatch researcher and world-renowned bird educator, author and multiple conservation prize winner, Professor Reuven Yosef, presented his work on migrating bird species.
The night started off with returned Earthwatch volunteer Merrilyn Thompson recounting her Carnivores of Brazil's Grasslands expedition.
Merrilyn's second Earthwatch expedition took her to the home of maned-wolves, whom she had studied while working at the Zoo and had acquired quite the passion for.
Her experience included helping researchers trap and release carnivore species to study their ecology, often residing with some unusual creatures and finally finishing her expedition with her dream of coming face-to-face with a maned-wolf fulfilled.
The focus then turned to Prof Yosef, who was a former Earthwatch scientist on Soaring Birds of Eilat which ran from 1998 – 2002 and was twice voted the best Earthwatch project.
Prof Yosef took up a career in conservation after 19 years as a Colonel in the Israeli Special Forces and is the author of 115 peer-reviewed journal articles. He has also written six books and was awarded the President’s Magshim Award ("The Visionary of Israel Award") in 2008 by Israeli President Shimon Peres for his services to conservation.
Prof Yosef has worked with NASA on safe landing of the space shuttle, is the winner of 21 international conservation prizes and is currently supervising 11 Post-Graduate students from Mongolia, Denmark, US, Israel and India.
The first part of his talk concentrated on body composition changes and the practical uses in understanding refuelling strategies and its implications for future bird-banders.
Revelations into how certain bird species dispose of their "excess body parts" before embarking on long migrations, only to regrow them at there concluding destination, left audience members impressed with birds' biological abilities.
The second part of Prof Yosef's talk concentrated on whether Blackcaps (Sylvia atricapilla) use night-time inactivity to save energy during the stopover.
Prof Yosef's talk was inspiring, touching on his works with the rehabilitation of a garbage tip in the desert to help staging migratory bird populations, and the effects of climate change and its impacts on migratory birds and how we should perceive future habitat conservation.
Many thanks to Merrilyn and Prof Yosef for their inspiring and entertaining talks, and thank you to all those who attended the evening.
For further information on Prof Reuven Yosef's work in Eilat visit www.birdsofeilat.com