Dubai for the Birds

So maybe you realized there are lots of BIRDS in the desert, but I did not!  From the pigeons outside our window to the cuter varieties begging for our Starbucks scraps to the incredible looking specimen found in the green green grass of Dubai International Financial District (DIFC), I have been amazed at the number and variety of fowl present in what is basically a hot, arid, sandy environment.

The weather is just about perfect for outdoor eating from September to April, and that brings lots of birds into view (particularly since some diners encourage them by throwing scraps).  And sometimes that means loud scuffles among birds vying for dinner.  But for the most part, the birds are a nice presence in the otherwise wildlife free downtown environment we live in.

There’s even a bird sanctuary nearby, in a wadi or oasis area of the near desert where one can go to view egrets and other birds from a special viewing platform.  While we have never seen the huge numbers of flamingos that I have seen pictures of here, it’s still pretty magical to see the birds up close and personal (the viewing platform hides the viewer somewhat from the birds so that the birds are more likely to approach).

My favorite bird so far is the Eurasian Hoopae we saw while in the Dubai Financial District (DIFC) pulling worms out of the short green lush grass there.    I have never been a bird watcher before, but here I cannot help but be enthralled by them.

To get to the Ras Al Khor Animal Sanctuary:

  1.  From Downtown, take Ras Al Khor Road (E44) south of Downtown, east past Dubai-Al Ain Road (E66)
  2. Make a cloverleaf turn around at Nad Al Hamar Road
  3. The observation area will be on your right as you head back west towards downtown.  There are free parking spaces there, but not a lot of them, so try not to go during busy times (Friday and Saturday afternoons)
  4. The observation area is free; there are two areas about 2 kilometers apart.

It is very peaceful and beautiful place; you can see lots of birds with the Burj Khalifa as a backdrop.  Enjoy the birds of Dubai!

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