Turkey Clears Kestrel of Spying For Israel

Returns home a hero

Jul 26, 2013
Outside Magazine
kestrel spy israel turkey

   Stuart JPP/Flickr

A kestrel detained by Turkish villagers on suspicion of being a non-human Israeli spy has been cleared of any wrongdoing and released back into the wild.

Residents in the village of Altinavya discovered the bird with a metal ring around its leg, stamped with the words “24311 Tel Avivunia Israel.” Fearing the bird could be a spy, they turned the kestrel over to local authorities. Medical personnel at Elazig’s Firat University initially identified the bird as an “Israeli Spy” in their registration documents. However, a series of intensive medical examinations and x-rays determined that the bird posed no threat to the country. As it turns out, metal bands, such as the one the kestrel was wearing, are used to track bird migrations in the region.

Use of non-human spies has been a source of great concern in the region over the past few years. In May of 2012, Turkish authorities dissected a European bee-eater fearing that it could be carrying a listening device and last December, Sudanese authorities accused a captured eagle wearing a similar tag on its leg of being a spy for the Mossad, Israel’s secretive intelligence organization.

None of the birds were found guilty.