Wildlife conservation in Ireland has had many setbacks over the years and has often been looked on by people who were in positions to help as something which wasn`t worth any effort.
One success story in Irish wildlife seems to be the Buzzard or to give it its Latin name Buteo Buteo.
Over the last twelve months or so my sightings of this impressive bird of prey are becoming more numerous and on Sunday last when travelling along the Blackwater valley close to Cappaquinn I spied a group of five buzzards soaring together. The sight of these five birds as they soared and tumbled in display was a sure sign that breeding season is nigh. Hopefully they will breed nearby and that their nests will be left undisturbed as there is still a level of dislike for birds of prey by some people.
The above pictures areof the Buzzards in Cappaquinn soaring against a grey sky.
A little information on the life of the Buzzard:
Diet:- The diet of the Buzzard, unlike some of our other birds of
prey consists almost completely on ground mammals of which rabbits are their favourite. They also eat plenty of rodents which they spot with their sharp eyesight while soaring or sometimes hovering in a strong breeze. Birds when presented are also on the diet although they would constitute a very small part of the buzzards diet unlike the sparrowhawk.
Breeding:- Buzzards are thought to be monogamous and mate for life. Breeding starts in march and starts with the males flights of display with soaring, diving and tumbling similar to what was happening in Cappaquinn a couple of days ago.
Communication;- While not a beautifull songster the buzzard is quite vocal and their call is unmistakeable. They call regularly to each other while soaring and once your ear becomes attuned to their sound it will quickly alert you of their presence. I`ll post a link below of a recording of some of these calls.
The above three pictures are of a lone bird which were taken near the river Lickey last October.
Recording of a Buzzard while soaring.