Worcestershire Record No. 27 November 2009 p. 32


Steve Davies

On the morning of 24th October 2009, I observed a Common Buzzard Buteo buteo feeding on earthworms in a field of autumn sown cereal opposite my house at SO923824, Pedmore on the boundary of West Midlands and Worcestershire. After approximately 10 minutes the Buzzard took off. I could see through my binoculars that its talons were heavily laden with mud from the surface of the field. Hardly surprising since the area had experienced a good deal of rain during the previous 24 hours. No prey item was carried. The bird flew 30 metres to an isolated group of Oak trees Quercus spp. near the centre of the field. As it appeared to be about to alight on one of the lower outer branches it extended its talons and grasped the branch alternately with each talon whilst flapping its wings to maintain this talon extended posture. At no time did this individual attempt to achieve a perched position even though there appeared to be no obvious impediment to this end. After 10 seconds of this behaviour the Buzzard returned to the previous feeding position in the cereal field and continued to forage.

From my observations I would suggest that this Buzzard was cleaning the clinging mud from its talons which could possibly have been a hindrance to its locomotion while foraging on the ground. The human equivalent of which would be walking through a field in a pair of “claggy” wellington boots!

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