What a beautiful bird. We are so lucky here to be able to watch the local buzzards on a daily basis and during the breeding season we are given wonderful sights of aerial displays and later youngsters learning and fly and being taught to hunt by their parents!
Our old resident Buzzard - Buzz - died in 2013 from old age. He had been a rescued bird when we took him in from the RSPCA, and believed him to be around 6-10 years old at the time, which would make him around 20-25 years of age.
We are now caring for Buzz II, again a rescued bird confiscated by the Courts from his previous owner in a legal dispute. We are still getting to know him, but he is beautifully quiet on the glove, and starting to trust us a little better in training. We hope he will be able to match the fun and aerial dynamics that Buzz I could perform. - Update: Buzz is now amazing, and enjoys flying to our clients and in display - he has certainly replaced our original Buzz!
The Common Buzzard is a medium to large bird of prey, whose range covers most of Europe and extends into Asia. It is typically between 51-57 cm in length with a 110 to 130 cm wingspan, making it a medium-sized raptor. There are around 40,000 breeding pairs in Britain.
It breeds in woodland, usually on the fringes, but favours hunting over open land, which makes this location particularly suitable for buzzards. It eats mainly small mammals, and will come to carrion. A great opportunist, it adapts well to a varied diet of pheasant, rabbit, other small mammals, snakes and lizards and can often be seen walking over recently ploughed fields looking for worms and insects.
Buzzards do not normally form flocks, but several may be seen together on migration or in good habitat. Though a rare occurrence as many as 20 buzzards can been spotted in one field area, approx 30 meters apart often picking for worms and maggots, so cannot be classed as a flock in the general term, consisting of those males (and females) without a mate or territory.
They are normally fiercely territorial, and, though rare, fights do break out if one strays on another pair's territory, but dominant displays of aggression will normally see off the interloper. Pairs mate for life. To attract a mate (or impress his existing mate) the male performs a ritual aerial display before the beginning of Spring. This spectacular display is known as 'the roller coaster'. He will rise high up in the sky, to turn and plummet downward, in a spiral, twisting and turning as he comes down. To then rise immediately upward to repeat the exercise.