By Zafrir Rinat, www.Haaretz.com
The wait is over: after months of campaigning, the hoopoe has beat out nine other finalists to secure the title of Israel’s state bird.
The hoopoe (duhifat, in Hebrew) won 35 percent of the votes, beating out the warbler (ten percent) and the finch (9.8 percent).
The national bird selection process was sponsored by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI). Voters chose from a list of 10 species on the SPNI website.
Surveys show that 46 percent of the votes for the winning bird came from Israel Defense Forces soldiers.
Dr. Yossi Leshem, the Tel Aviv University ornithologist who helped initiate the campaign to choose a state bird, said that the election of city birds is next on the agenda. Tel Aviv has already announced that it will adopt the swallow as its municipal avian mascot and set up nest installations around the city.