This October, Israel’s skies host the annual migration of about half a billion birds. More than 400 known bird species cross Israel en route from Europe to winter homes in Africa, including 85% of the world’s white stork population and many species of birds of prey. According to ornithologists, the region experiences this phenomenon because it is at a “bottleneck” in migratory flyways. International volunteers are assisting the Israeli Society for the Protection of Nature in its yearly survey of the birds’ journey. But it is not only experts and amateur enthusiasts who will be taking note: the survey is partly funded by the Israeli Air Force, which schedules its own flight patterns to avoid the seasonal visitors.