Prof. Yossi Leshem

Retired in School of Zoology
Core Curriculum Program
ביה"ס לזואולוגיה בדימוס
Prof. Yossi Leshem
Phone: 03-6406010
Another phone: 03-6407963
Fax: 03-6406010
Office: Sherman - Life Sciences


Yossi Leshem is a Senior Researcher in the Department of Zoology in the Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University and is the founder and Director of the International Center for the Study of Bird Migration at Latrun, Israel, established by Tel Aviv University and the SPNI.  He also worked at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), the leading NGO in Israel for 25 years, as a guide, as Director of a Field Study Center, as Head of the Nature Protection Department, Initiator and Director of the Israel Raptor Information Center between 1980-1991, and as the .Executive Director of the SPNI between 1991-1995.  In November 2007 he was elected as the Chairman of the SPNI Council


Leshem has been involved in many aspects of nature conservation, with the emphasis on bird research for 38 years. Since 1984, his research for his doctorate, which was conducted with the cooperation of the Israeli Air Force and the Ministry of Science, has resulted in a decrease of 76% in the number of collisions with aircraft caused by birds, and has saved 790 million dollars, not to mention the numbers of lives, both human and avian. Today he serves as Lt. Col. (Ret) in the Israeli Air Force and continues this research. In 2005 he won the prestigious Mike Kuhring Prize for achievements of high significance for improved flight safety concerning the bird-plane conflicts, and for his mission to connect safety with nature conservation via education that gave bird strike prevention worldwide appreciation.


Leshem is involved in a variety of activities in bird migration research, in educational activities that take place in over 250 schools in Israel, also in cooperation with the Palestinians and the Jordanians, and has developed an educational and scientific site on the Internet ( called "Migrating Birds Know No Boundaries". Leshem developed a 6 year research and an educational program in cooperation with the Palestinians and Jordanians under the same title as the website. At the moment Dr. Leshem is conducting a number of scientific projects, among them a project which tracks migrating birds that have been fitted with satellite transmitters, and a project that tracks migration with the aid of radar, in cooperation with a team of Russian immigrant scientists. Leshem initiated a program to use Barn Owls and Kestrels as biological pest control agents to reduce the use of pesticides in agricultural fields, which became a national program and a regional project with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.


Leshem has published three books, scientific papers, and hundreds of articles in popular magazines. Leshem visited Japan as a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo from June 30th – October 12th , 2006. Leshem is a recipient of  the "Lifetime Achievement Award for Environmental Protection" awarded in 2008, presented during the sixty years celebrations of the independence of the State of Israel.  He is 68 years old, married with 5 children and 7 grandchildren.




Period of study

Name of University

Subject Degree

Date of award


Hebrew University

Biology & Genetics B.Sc.



Tel Aviv University

Zoology M.Sc.



Tel Aviv University

Zoology Ph.D.





Academic and Professional Experience:

Period of Study
Name of Institute



Society for the Protection

of Nature in Israel (SPNI)

Har Gilo Field Study Center Field Instructor



Director Har Gilo Field Study Center



Nature Conservation Department



Director, Nature Conservation Dept.



Establisher and director of the Israel Raptor Information Center (I.R.I.C)

SPNI director General


Tel-Aviv University,

Dept. of Zoology

Guest Lecturer


Tel-Aviv University,

Dept. of Zoology



Tel-Aviv University,

Dept. of Zoology

Senior Researcher


The International Center For the Study of Bird Migration, Latrun

Establisher & Director

2006 June-October

The University of Tokyo

Visiting Professor


Research Interests

Yossi Leshem studies various aspects of bird migration:  radar, motorized glider, network of ground observers, and  satellite transmitters (PTT’S).  His work includes: applied research for the Israeli Air Force and civilian aviation; the ecology of wintering bird populations in Israel; applied research to solve conflicts between birds and farmers; barn owls and kestrels as pest-control agents in agriculture; and educational aspects and eco-tourism in ornithology.


His research interests include:

  • Different aspects of bird migration - Radars, Motorized glider, Network of ground observers
  • Satellite transmitters (PTT’S)
  • Applied research for the Israeli Air Force and civilian aviation
  • Ecology of wintering bird populations in Israel
  • Applied research to solve conflicts between birds and farmers
  • Barn owl and Kestrels in pest control in agriculture
  • Educational aspects and Eco-tourism in ornithology

Recent Publications

For a full list


Book since 2009


Leshem, Y. D. Alon, J. Engel, A. Idelman and R. Haklai.
The Development of a National Network of Birdwatching Centers in Israel and their contribution to the environment, tourism, education and research, 2009, (200pp). (in Hebrew)


Leshem, Y. and O. Bahat. 
Flying With the Birds 
Tel - Aviv: Yediot Aharonot Publishing House and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and Tel-Aviv University, 1999. Second edition - 2009, (272 pp). (in English) 


Vogel, G.C. and Y. Leshem.
The Man Who Flies With Birds
Kar-Ben Publishing, 2009, (64pp). (in English)



Articles since 2006

Shamoun-Baranes J., van Loon, E., Alon, D. Alpert, P., Yom-Tov, Y. Leshem, Y. 2006 Is there a connection between weather at departure sites, onset of migration and timing of soaring- bird autumn migration in Israel  (in press , Global Ecology and Biogeography, 15 (6): 541-552 .


Charter, M., Leshem, Y., Izhaki, I. , Guershon, M., Kiat Y., 2006 The diet of the Little Owl (Athena noctua) in Israel Zoology in the Middle East 39, 31-40


Dinevich, L., Leshem, Y., 2006 Algorithmic system for identifying bird radio-echo, and plotting radar ornithological charts. The Ring 29, 1-2: 3-40


Leshem, Y. Yom-Tov, Y. Thompson, H. Bennun , L. Labinger, Z. 2006 The importance of the Great Rift Valley for palearctic bird migration JOURNAL OF ORNITHOLOGY, 147 (5): 284-284


Charter M., Izhaki I. , Bouskila, A., and Y. Leshem. 2007. Breeding success of the Eurasian Kestrel ( Falco tinnunculus ) nesting on buildings in Israel .J. Raptor Res. 41(2): 139-143.


Charter M., Izhaki I. , Bouskila, A., and Y. Leshem, 2007.The effect of different nest types on the breeding success of Eurasian Kestrels ( Falco tinnunculus ) in a rural ecosystem. J. Raptor Res. 41(2): 143-149.


Charter, M., Izhaki, I. , Shapira, L., and Y. Leshem, 2007. Diets of urban breeding Barn Owls (Tyto alba) in Tel Aviv, Israel . The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 119(3): 484-485


Dinevich, L., Leshem, Y., 2008. Identification of migrating birds' echo and plotting ornithological charts based on MRL-5 radar data . Advanced Contemporary Radioelectronics" # 3, pp. 48 -68. 


The Institute for Radio Engineering and Radioelectronics, Russian Academy of Science , Moscow . ISSN 0373-2428.


Charter M., Leshem Y., Izhaki I. , and S. Halevi , 2008. A case of polygamy or co-operative breeding in the Common Kestrel ( Falco tinnunculus ) in Israel .Sandgrouse. 30:164-165.


Kiat, Y., Perlman, G., Balaban, A.., Leshem, Y., Izhaki, I. and M. Charter, 2008. Feeding specialization of urban Long-eared Owls, Asio otus (Linnaeus, 1758), in Jerusalem , Israel . Zoology in the Middle East 43: 49-54 .


Dinevich, L., Leshem, Y., 2008. Some characteristics of daytime bird migration in Israel : radar monitoring data. The Ring 30. 1/2:3-17.


Charter, M., Izhaki, I. , Meyron, K., Motro, Y., and Y. Leshem, 2009.Diets of Barn Owls Differ In The Same Agricultural Region. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121(2): 378-383.


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