Birecik & Bald Ibises The northern bald ibis, also known as the hermit ibis or kelaynak in Turkey, is a migratory bird that can be found in barren, semi-desert or rocky habitats. This species is considered endangered and scientists have been working on research and projects to prevent their extinction. The only population of these birds in Turkey is located in Birecik, a district in the Sanliurfa province, approximately 80 km away from the city center. Northern bald ibises live in colonies and nest on steep rock cliffs for protection from natural predators, humans, and other wild animals. They lay between 2-4 eggs per year and mainly feed on insects, beetles, lizards, snails, worms, ants, and scorpions, which they gather by poking around with their long beaks in cracks on the ground. Male birds become mature at around 5 years old and have an average lifespan of 25-30 years. Birecik's surroundings are the natural habitat of the critically endangered northern bald ibis. These birds migrate around Valentine's Day and begin to nest around mid-May, leaving Birecik in July after breeding their young. In 1977, a breeding station was established to aid in the conservation of the critically endangered Bald Ibis. One aspect of this center's work is to provide the birds with a special diet consisting of meat, eggs, grated carrots, chicken feed, and unsalted cheese. Another is to monitor their reproductive behavior, which begins in February or March. Biologists release some bald ibises into nature every year so they can reproduce naturally and follow their natural migratory pattern before eventually returning to the breeding program center in Birecik.