Worcestershire Record No. 16 April 2004 pp. 8-9


Notes from Will Watson 

I have had two recent reports of buzzards eating adders - both from Forestry workers. John Speed who is the Forestry Commission Wildlife Ranger for the Mortimer Forest has seen buzzards take adders on his patch. Forest Enterprise employees, to their astonishment, saw a pair of buzzards remove six adders in early spring from a hibernation site at woodland in Shobdon Parish in Herefordshire. Buzzards may have a serious impact on local adder populations. Please bear in mind that the latter is a third hand account and needs checking. 

Also, in Pembridge Parish, Herefordshire, a keen wildlife farmer reported seeing buzzards regularly taking common frogs, but stripping the meat and bone off and leaving the spawn behind. 

Some further accounts on What Buzzards Eat came from Herefordshire farmers (mainly in the pub!). One farmer recently witnessed a Sparrowhawk take a Fieldfare and was then accosted on the ground by a Buzzard which then stole the prey.  Another farmer thought they were becoming a real pest because they were at such high numbers, but wouldn't actually say what they were eating other than a range of small mammals and other small prey items.  My neighbouring farmer does not see them as regular problem although he had witnessed them take leverets, which he felt were more defenceless than young rabbits. Whilst talking to the people monitoring the Peregrine Falcon nest at the Symonds Yat viewpoint one of them told me he had seen a Buzzard carry off a snake from Coppet Hill, (just down below from the viewpoint) - yet another account of Buzzards taking snakes. 

Buzzard note from Roger Umpelby 

I read with interest Will Watson’s observation of a hovering buzzard at Burley Gate in Herefordshire. Until recently I worked at Preston Wynne which is only about 5km from Burley Gate.  Buzzards were a common sight in this area and were frequently seen sitting on top of electricity poles. After leaving work one day in 2001 heading towards Burley Gate I was very surprised to see a buzzard hovering alongside the road. There was a stiff south-westerly wind blowing and the buzzard was hovering mainly using the wind and actively feathering its wings, with only the occasional wing beat. Given the close proximity to Will’s observation and the relative closeness of the Black Mountains could this be behaviour that has been learnt by the local birds and is passed on to their young?  BUZZARDS AT DAWN 

Rosemary Winnall 

Buzzards are seen daily where I live near Bewdley.  I do not know where they roost or breed, but the nearest possible site is half a kilometre away, although it might be further.  During January this year, I began noticing a Buzzard flying up through the garden very early in the morning well before dawn, when only the occasional early-rising Robin could be heard.  It was still dark and the Buzzard could only be seen easily if I caught sight of its silhouette against the sky. I started noting some times and found out when official sunrise was on those days.  The three earliest records were as follows: 

8th January 2004 7.50am (14 minutes before sunrise)
14th January 2004 7.40am (20 minutes before sunrise)
25th February 2004 6.35am (20 minutes before sunrise)  

There are plenty of rabbits around here, and neighbours reported seeing a Buzzard sitting in an orchard tree very early in the morning. Perhaps that is why we rarely see Buzzards eating – we’re not up early enough! 

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