Israel’s State Bird 05/29/2008 Israel
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The wait is over: after five long months of campaigning, the Hoopoe has beat out nine other finalists to secure the title of Israel’s state bird.

The winner was announced on Thursday at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

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, sponsored by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) began about five months ago. Voters chose from a list of 10 species on the SPNI website.

In Thursday’s celebratory ceremony, President Shimon Peres delivered a speech highlighting the importance of preserving endangered birds. He specifically referred to the vulture, after which he changed his name from Persky to Peres, which means vulture in Hebrew.

Neither the hoopoe nor the vulture are Kosher.

David Rubin