Richard Harbird

After many years of watching Buzzards, apart from watching them wandering about in fields picking up worms, I had never actually seen one catch anything until the other week. From the hide at the Upton Warren Flashes, a group of us watched a Buzzard leave its perch in the big oak tree behind the third flash and lazily glide across the grassland behind the flashes at low level, like a Harrier. It suddenly dropped, from a height of about three feet on an unsuspecting rabbit.

I found it hard to believe that the rabbit could be so dim as to allow itself to be caught in this lethargic manner, and wondered if it was already dead. However, others in the hide confirmed at had been seen making an all-too-late dart for freedom before being caught. The rabbit was consumed on the spot before Crows and Magpies persuaded the Buzzard to leave. I understand that the following week, the same Buzzard performed an identical capture technique on another Rabbit.

An interesting post-script to the first kill is that after the Buzzard had departed, among the first to investigate the corpse, barging Crows out of the way, were two Canada Geese. Our pens were poised ready to record Britain's first carnivorous Geese, but they must have realised that no bread was involved as they quickly lost interest.


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