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by michael February 26 2008

No really, the swallows are coming.

It's cold in the winter. People stay in. The city slows down. Events become fewer and far between. So sometimes, in bringing a little cheer to the residents of Jerusalem, the municipality reaches a little. Sometimes the municipality celebrates the return of flocks of migratory swallows with a special event and a press release so breathless it uses the words "wonderful" and "special" about four times each.

But yes: the swallows are coming.

The wonderful and special swallows in question are referred to locally as wall swallows (sisei ha-chomot), a name given to them due to their wonderful and special habit of making their nests in the cracks and crevices of buildings and structures, particularly the Western Wall. Apparently the birds prefer the Western Wall because the crowd that usually gathers there creates wonderful and special updrafts of warm air that send the lady wall swallows into an ecstatic frenzy of good old-fashioned egg-layin'.

To commemorate this wonderfully special occasion, the municipality is hosting a little shindig today, Tuesday February 26, at 16:00 at the Western Wall to welcome back the swallows. A prominent German ornithologist will be present, as well as some assorted politicos, researchers from the Jerusalem Bird Observatory, and more. It is hoped the event will cause enough warm air to make the evening wonderful and special for the swallows.

For those of you who find the wonderfulness and specialness of the Western Wall daunting, the swallows can also be seen fluttering about the rest of the city.

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