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Thread: Buzzards

  1. #1

    Buzzards

    The release of my partridges has attracted a few extra raptors into the area. Out feeding yesterday I watched a rather large buzzard hunting a hillside but fortunately the partridge are too wary for him and quickly moved off to a safer area. To combat crows raiding feeders I have placed garden canes in the ground next to all the feeders and tied a crow wing to the cane. (works fairly effectively) As the buzzard hunted he must have spotted one of these wings fluttering in the wind. Attack mode he swooped on the wing grabbing it taking the cane from the ground before he dropped it. Yes there are too many and can be a nightmare but still amazing birds.

  2. #2
    Yes - I once spent half an hour watching a buzzard in a free-range organic chicken pen. It was acting rather strangely, running back and forwards and then diving onto something. After a while I realised that it was picking up clods of mud and throwing them in the air. When they landed, they broke open. If there was anything edible wriggling around in the debris, it rushed forwards and grabbed the juicy morsels. There were young birds within a few feet of it the whole time, and it took no notice whatsoever of them.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Gazza View Post
    The release of my partridges has attracted a few extra raptors into the area. Out feeding yesterday I watched a rather large buzzard hunting a hillside but fortunately the partridge are too wary for him and quickly moved off to a safer area. To combat crows raiding feeders I have placed garden canes in the ground next to all the feeders and tied a crow wing to the cane. (works fairly effectively) As the buzzard hunted he must have spotted one of these wings fluttering in the wind. Attack mode he swooped on the wing grabbing it taking the cane from the ground before he dropped it. Yes there are too many and can be a nightmare but still amazing birds.
    Before asking the question, I am playing devils advocate here, ok!

    What is too many buzzards? Plenty folk say this and buzzards are a very noticeable bird, compared to say a goshawk. Going from zero buzzards in an are to two pairs is very visual.

    So what number is too much and how do you know?


    Incidently , I put pheasants out 2 wks ago, I now get 10 wk olds and had 2 kills (smallish birds, sparrow hawk). Since getting them in at 10 wks, I,ve had very little bird of prey kills and we have a buzz nest within 500 m of the main pen. Don,t bother with scare crows , cd,s etc but put plenty cover in and good electric fences top and bottom. Surprisingly no martin trouble in the 4 years we,ve been here??? Not complaining but always expecting it

  4. #4
    I have two release pens on farms about 4 miles apart, both small woods of about 10 acres. Both had a brood of Buzzards reared in them this year, which are still using the wood(s) as home, along with a few hundred newly released pheasant poults (8 weeks at release).

    The buzzards have not bothered the birds! And it was exactly the same in previous years!

    We have lost a couple to a fox and one to a badger (a first) but avian predators, nothing, nowt, zilch, nada.

    Now sparrowhawks, different kettle of fish entirely and hen sprawks will attack partridges all day long all year long (and also small pheasants poults), so I am no lover of 'hook bills' as a whole but do think Buzzards are pretty much harmless.
    Last edited by mudman; 22-08-2012 at 08:49.

  5. #5
    Wow interesting stuff and I am sure many keepers won't agree with you but debate is in full flow as to or if they are the killers of game some say they are for sure the osprey chick taken from its nest and caught on camera was certainly a victim .
    i have my fair share of avian predators here and find the sparrow hawk the worse offender .i do leave a few crows about as these do worry the buzzards from sitting in one place too long and we are getting a few kites too but they don't seem to harm me at all .
    it would be interesting to see what others think .
    regards
    norma

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by norma 308 View Post
    Wow interesting stuff and I am sure many keepers won't agree with you but debate is in full flow as to or if they are the killers of game some say they are for sure the osprey chick taken from its nest and caught on camera was certainly a victim .
    i have my fair share of avian predators here and find the sparrow hawk the worse offender .i do leave a few crows about as these do worry the buzzards from sitting in one place too long and we are getting a few kites too but they don't seem to harm me at all .
    it would be interesting to see what others think .
    regards
    norma
    I don't think that anyone has said that buzzards won't kill young pheasants, of course they will or they wouldn't be buzzards.
    there are ways however to minimise losses, I've found thar reducing the density, making sure there is plenty of cover/brash and buying in older birds has helped. I only do it in my "spare" time on a syndicate, but was keeper ing for 20 odd years and have spent plenty time on a rearing field.

    Personaly, I don't think we'll ever get a license to shoot buzzards, what we can do is minimise the risk. This wont work for everyone.

    Raptor persecution is the one thing that really turns the public against the shooting Comunity. My own feelings are that commercial shoots will ultimately loose more birds through predation from protected species (bop! Otters, badgers, pine martens and wildcats) The test will be that they will have to increase prices and possibly reduce bags, will the shooter be happy with this??? Especially when we have competition from abroad, south American doves, Hungarian pheasants

    Ultimately, it is the paying shooter who dictates prices and bags.

  7. #7
    Little doubt in my mind that the buzzard I was watching would have taken a partridge given half the chance but these birds at 16/17 weeks old are far too wary. If the buzzard did get one I would think it would be a weak/injured bird which probably would not have survived anyway. The gentleman who owns the shoot has a very reasonable attitude to raptors. He puts down several thousand birds and in doing so full accepts that they will attract raptors and that there will be loses. So far I have seen buzzards (two pairs), sparrow hawks, a peregrine. I have seen evidence of a few kills but nothing unexpected.
    On my own pheasant shoot I have several buzzards and a kite appears now and again but they have never caused any real problem. Give me buzzards anyday compared to a mink or cub getting into a pen.

  8. #8
    I watched them and the crows take every lapwing chick that was running around the field at the back off my house we have 4 pairs plus chicks at any one time floating around the termals i would say they do need controling they seem to have overcome every problem they had from seeing 1 a month 10 years ago it a dozen a day now

  9. #9
    In the past I have had enormous problems with buzzards. I inherited a shoot that had two old buzzards with a pair of chicks. They started as soon as the poults arrived and were still killing adult pheasants a month before the season started. The must have taken well over a hundred.
    On the next shoot to me you could find the remains of poults scattered all over the field next to one of the release pens, buzzards circling all the time.
    To me they were a bigger menace than the foxes, at least you could deal with them

  10. #10
    Same area as mudman and the buzzards do attack my birds they also scare the hell out of the partridge.
    Watched a marsh harrier follow tram lines in standing wheat the other day he systematically flew along one and back along the other till he'd quartered the whole field.
    Amazing really, he swooped a few times but at what i couldn't see.

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