When we were in Turkey, we visited the breeding center for the Northern Bald Ibis in Birecik, on the banks of the Euphrates. The Northern Bald Ibis was once widespread across the Middle East, northern Africa, southern and central Europe, with a fossil record dating back at least 1.8 million years. It disappeared from Europe over 300 years ago, and is now considered critically endangered. Since the beginning of the 20th century, however, the species has been known from two separate populations: a western population in Morocco and an eastern population in Turkey and Syria. Religious traditions helped the northern bald Ibis to survive in this Turkish colony long after the species had disappeared from Europe, since it was believed that the ibis migrated each year to guide Hajj pilgrims to Mecca. The Ibis was protected by its religious significance, and a festival was held annually to celebrate its return north. I wanted to write a post on this subject to bring attention to the work being done in Birecik to restore the Northern Bald Ibis to the wild.