Photo Credit: Nature and Parks Authority and the Rafi team
An IDF paratrooper with one of the rescued finches from Shechem, November 27, 2023.

During a recent operation conducted by the Israel Defense Forces in the Balata “refugee” camp in Shechem, reservists from the paratrooper brigade, engaged in uncovering illicit terror weaponry, unexpectedly stumbled upon cages containing birds. Upon closer inspection, these avian captives were identified as finches.

The finch, scientifically known as Carduelis carduelis, holds protected status in Israel, with hunting, breeding, or trading in the species strictly prohibited. Despite such legal safeguards, the allure of these songbirds has rendered them prime targets for poachers, contributing to a significant decline in the wild finch population over recent decades due to rampant illegal hunting.


Poachers often resort to disabling the finches by breaking their wings or legs, transforming them into bait to attract their companions, who are subsequently ensnared. Notably, there is a heightened demand in Arab society for “Banduk” (“bastard” in Arabic), a hybrid breed resulting from the union of a male finch and a female canary. This crossbreed boasts the vibrant plumage of the finch combined with the melodious voice of the canary.

The finches that were rescued from Shechem, November 27, 2023. / Nature and Parks Authority and the Rafi team

Following consultation with the Nature and Parks Authority, the IDF soldiers determined that these finches were being unlawfully held. The birds, found in cramped conditions and displaying signs of distress, were consolidated into a larger cage and discreetly rescued to avoid detection by the criminals responsible for their poaching. Subsequently, representatives from the Nature and Parks Authority arrived at the base to take custody of the finches.

Upon consulting bird experts, the Nature and Parks Authority discovered that the finches had endured a prolonged period without sustenance. Adequate nourishment was provided, and after ensuring their recovery, the finches were released back into the wild.

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