Image of the Week: Buzzard

DSC_0867.JPGLike last week I again decided to choose an image from a list instead of thumbnails. This is a bad picture of a buzzard I was watching during the week as she cruised over the fields looking for breakfast. Buzzards were rare here in Ireland but have begun to spread naturally in the last ten years. I saw my first Irish one in 2013. I was speeding along on my bike when I saw it. I was so excited I nearly fell off the bike…

‘Its a bloody eagle!’ I yelled to no one in particular.

Our buzzards are not the same as the in the U.S. and though they feed on carrion they do eat small mammals and birds. While they can be seen hunting on the wing they also favour sitting on fence posts and telegraph poles keeping an eye out for rats and the like. Some people believe the decline of the grey squirrel, once the scourge of the red squirrel population, is due to the return of the buzzard. What goes aroundcomes around.

Though the buzzard is very useful in the countryside in controlling the rat population and cleaning up carrion – not to mention that they are uplifting to see – there are still people who will shoot and poison them in case they start carrying off their dogs or cows or horses. As if. For, while at first our buzzard looks fierce and majestic, that is only a front. They are no good at catching birds on the wing.They are noisy when diving, scaring off any prey. They seem to be scared of just about everything and are often seen being chased by crows – this one was chased off by my rabble of doughty sparrows.  To top it all their feathers make them look like they are wearing a brown ‘Christmas Jumper’ all of which seems to make them pathetic characters. A sort of low end eagle. Or perhaps an Irish eagle. But they are ours and long may they soar.