Turf war update: stalemate for now

While the Peregrine sat on the 3rd st. church cross, we ventured into Tompkins Square Park to see if Christo or Dora were around.  Lo and behold, we found Christo chilling out in a low tree branch near the Ave. A playground.


Christo in tree

When we asked him why he wasn’t attacking the Peregrine, he just gave us this look:Christointree3

He must have something up his…wing. We’ll have to wait and see but, as of now, it’s a silent stalemate.

Turf war brewing?

A Peregrine falcon has been hanging out on Christo & Dora’s cross on the 3rd street church for the past couple of days.  It has been calling loudly each morning.  There have been some battles between the hawks and other birds of prey lately.  Christo and Dora have their work cut out for them.  They surely wouldn’t be pleased with this.

Read the update here.


Happy New Year from the Hoopoe!

As 2015 comes to a close and we look forward to another year, we tapped the stunning Hoopoe for some advice on surviving and thriving in 2016.

1. Be true to yourself.


The Hoopoe (or duchifat in Hebrew), which was voted in as Israel’s national bird in 2008, is most likely named after the distinct oop-oop-oop sound it makes. It doesn’t get fancy with adjectives or descriptions of all the beautiful features it has (e.g. the bow-beaked, golden-black-tip-crested, etc.) …it’s just the Hoopoe, keepin’ it real.  You can hear the Hoopoe’s eponymous song in this great video where it stands outside of someone’s window.

2. Get off your butt.

While the Hoopoe does take adequate time to bask in the sun to catch some rays, most of the time it is dig-dig-digging for food, as you can see here…

Its diet consists of insects, small reptiles, and occasionally seeds and berries. When it is foraging, it is in constant motion – like a woodpecker pecking the ground.  In flight, it has a distinct undulating wing motion, often compared to the flight of a butterfly.

3. Watch your mouth!


The Hoopoe uses its long curved beak for eating and to defend itself and its territory.  It has special muscles in its jaw so it can actually open its beak while it is deep in the soil.  It also uses its sharp beak as a weapon and has been known to render others blind!

4. When needed, make a stink.


With all the tension across the globe this year, the last thing we need to do is sit back and do nothing. The Hoopoe has a special defense mechanism: it can stink up a place faster than Adele sells out a tour.  It has special glands that produce a nasty smelling secretion (we’re told it smells like rotting meat) which it applies all over its body…kind of an anti-cologne. Apparently, this stenchy solution also prevents parasites and acts as an antibacterial agent.

5. Let your light shine.


The Hoopoe is a beautiful creature in its own right…but when its crest is fanned open, it’s like a new world appears.  And for this beauty, the Hoopoe turns to Marianne Williamson‘s wonderfully inspiring words:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? …Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do…. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

We wish a Happy New Year to you and yours (avian, human, and otherwise) and to our lovely planet!

That’s not yours, it’s Myna!

The Myna is to Tel Aviv what the Pigeon is to New York City…at least in terms of pervasiveness.

myna grass.jpg

Mynas are beautiful birds: bright yellow masks and beaks on a black body and black and white aflutter in flight.

myna agamon.jpg

They are crafty and quite invasive – using other birds’ nests, eating a wide variety of food, and mimicking the sounds around them (they are in the same family as the Starling) .  They often work together in packs, like crows.

myna in palm.jpg

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the Myna is not a native species to Israel.


It was brought from India by the Zapari (a bird zoo in the Park Hayarkon).  Some Myna escaped the zoo in the mid 90’s and they have been thriving ever since.