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Thread subject: Buzzard taking an osprey chick
Name Date Message
FOB Webmaster 06/27/12 08:55 am Well, this is a new one for me: YouTube video. It's supposedly a buzzard taking the chick. Story is here.
Melanie 06/27/12 10:03 am Wow. Neither have I heard of this, but according to Cornell it's not out of their behavioral range: The Black Vulture feeds mainly on carrion, although it also scavenges fish, vegetable material, and dung. Occasionally, Black Vultures attack small live prey, or in larger groups may attack lambs or newborn pigs. The Black Vulture relies on others in their group to warn them about approaching danger while eating; this allows them to eat particularly quickly.
Nancy L 06/27/12 12:49 pm I guess he was just waiting for the Mom to leave the nest.
FOB Webmaster 06/27/12 01:05 pm Someone on our Facebook page said buzzard means more like a hawk in the UK. Can some of our UK friends weigh in on that? When US folks hear buzzard we think of vulture, like Melanie mentioned. I'm curious how different they are -- or if they're not that different.
Melanie 06/27/12 04:30 pm I was surprised by a naturalist at Patuxent NWR who was holding a rough-legged hawk and referred to it as an "old World Buzzard". He explained it as an older European term that generally applied to buteos. The definition is supposedly broad winged, broad tail hawk.

When I hear Buzzard I think of some crusty, grizzly old cowboy ;-p
FOB Webmaster 06/27/12 05:12 pm Yeah, or one of those vultures in a cartoon. :-)
Anne-UK1 06/27/12 06:22 pm I haven't watched the video - not sure I want to, though I appreciate it is nature in all its glory. But yes, our buzzard is not the same as yours. I remember having a conversation a year or two back when it turned out yours are vultures. Ours are graceful birds that soar on thermals.

Thirty years ago we'd drive miles to try to spot one. Now they're a very common sight. Definitely a success story.

Lots of images here
Nancy L 06/28/12 02:04 pm Yes, looks like your buzzards are our hawks.
Anne 06/29/12 01:09 pm Just to clarify, buzzards and hawks are separate sub families of the family Accipitridae,. There are three species of buzzards (genus Buteo) in the Old World , and only two hawks (genus Accipiter).

North America has many more species in the Buteo family, from Red-shouldered hawk to Rough-legged hawk and my understanding is that they were first named hawk instead of buzzard because the early settlers thought that all medium sized raptors were hawks. That was the only name they were used to and it was before Linnaeus had got round to classifying bird families.

America does have three true hawks of the genus Accipiter and they are Northern goshawk, Sharp-shinned hawk and Cooper's hawk. They are a lot more secretive than Buteo species and they catch their prey by stealth and surprise. Buzzards on the other hand are much easier to see as they soar and sit openly on treetops and perches.

Just to confuse matters yet another family, Falcons, are commonly called hawks, presumably because in the old days falconers called their birds hawks too. And why vultures became known as buzzards in America I do not know!

Sorry I have not been around, I spend most of my spare time volunteering at our local nature reserve nowadays but I do look in to see whats happening from time to time.
Trishrg 06/29/12 03:21 pm Thanks for stopping by, and sharing all the great info on raptors Anne.
Very interesting.
martyc35 06/29/12 05:16 pm As a true N.American, I never even knew the word buzzard until well into my adulthood, and I didn't figure out the European distinctions until looking at those African cams and finding that buzzards are not vultures over there. Thanks, Anne. There is a sharp-shinned hawk in my neighborhood, but it is not sneaky enough to be missed by our resident crows, who set up a huge holler and flyby whenever they see him near our feeders. Now I know when the crow alarm goes off to go out and take a look. I don't have a pic of him, but I have come eye to eye a couple of times.
Pam 07/01/12 05:44 pm There is a lot of controversy about Buzzards in this country. Most bird conservationists are all for leaving them alone but landowners who raise pheasants want them culled, so that THEIR birds can grow large enough to be SHOT !!!! Money, money, money....

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Last modified: Sun March 7, 2010