Harry Green (compiler); Gary Farmer; Brett Westwood; Craig Wright; Richard Medley
Buzzards and badgers
Email from Gary Farmer 22nd July 2011:
Someone asked me today why dead Badgers don't attract scavenging Magpies etc. Thinking about it I've never seen anything eating a dead Badger. Why would this be?
Response from Brett Westwood 24th July 2011:
It's a good point ... you don't see much eating dead badgers. In spring 2010 a badger, presumably hit by a car, crawled into a cornfield near where I live and died. I saw a buzzard feeding on the carcase which reduced quite quickly over the next week or so. Presumably something was eating it and quite fast. Why more things don't eat badgers is a mystery ... maybe there's too much fat to get through. There's a guy near Bristol who eats road-kill including badgers, but I suspect he's in a very small human minority.
Reply from Gary Farmer 26th July 2011:
I'm sure there must be some money for a crazy PhD project studying Badger Scavengers (sounds the name of a rock band). Anyway, if nothing else, the question has brought out another snippet for "what do Buzzards eat?”
Buzzards and crows
Email from Craig Wright, Pershore 19th August 2011:
I have four very large Leylandii trees in my garden which are host to Goldcrests and provide a roost for Collared Doves. However in 2010 two Carrion Crows decided to nest in one of them. Visually, because the tree is so high, I couldn't see into the nest but from the noise I could tell that there were one if not two or more chicks in there. The crow pair would often call to each other as one or other of them arrived back at the nest with food but one day an altogether different noise brought me running out of the house. It was a tremendous noise of screeching and cawing. As I looked up toward the origin of the noise I could see the parent crows flapping and diving at something near the nest. Suddenly a Buzzard flew up clutching what I assumed to be one of the young crows in its talons, hotly pursued by the very agitated crows. It flew off in the direction of Tiddesley Wood which is about a couple of miles away as the Crow flies (no pun intended) from my house. Eventually the Crows gave up the pursuit. They did manage to fledge one young crow as I saw them feeding it later on in the month, so at least one escaped the Buzzards dinner table.
This year (2011) I saw the crows checking out the tree again but I never saw them with any young so I guess they decided against a repeat of the previous year’s experience. I often see Buzzards soaring above my garden and the surrounding area and I assume they probably nest in Tiddesley Wood. From my garden I have seen up to five at any one time circling overhead this past spring and summer.
Buzzard eats Pigeon
From Richard Medley, Upper Colwall, 3rd January 2012.
About 1p.m. yesterday a pigeon flew across field behind the house with a buzzard some 40ft behind it. Both vanished into trees out of sight but I did notice a couple of pigeon feathers drifting in the wind. We were then distracted by visitors and it was almost half an hour later when I looked out across the field and saw the buzzard standing on the remains of a pigeon, most of the breast having been eaten. This is not the first time we have seen a buzzard pursue a flying pigeon but it is the first time we have seen what would appear to be a successful hunt.
Fig.1. Buzzard drawing. Ray Bishop