I’ve always had a soft spot for buzzards.
I grew up on the North Wales coast, where buzzards were relatively common. I’d hear their lofty mewling calls as I walked to meet the school bus in the morning, and would watch them soaring overhead in the afternoon as I returned home. They were a mainstay of my wildlife-watching education — a fundamental component of my day-to-day wildlife experience.
That call, and the familiar soaring silhouette, was one of the things I missed most when I moved to Ireland at the turn of the millennium (that and nuthatches… I still miss the nuthatches).
Buzzards in Ireland
Buzzards became extinct in Ireland in 1891, but naturally recolonised in the early 1930s when the first breeding pair was recorded on Rathlin Island off the Antrim coast. They have been spreading steadily south and west ever since, and have been recorded in every county in Ireland, and officialy recorded as breeding in 18 counties. However they are still relatively scarce down here in the far south.
In my 13 years living here in West Cork I’ve only seen buzzards on my local patch three times — all over the last five years, and always only single birds. So imagine my excitement when earlier this week I looked up and saw not one but two buzzards soaring overhead. My heart skipped a beat — was it a pair — would they like what they saw — would they decide to stick around? Questions raced through my mind, and then I stopped my pondering and just enjoyed the spectacle… watching the birds drifting on the updraughts until they floated out of sight behind a nearby rise.
Over the course of the week I saw the birds again several times, singly, not as a pair, but just knowing there are buzzards checking out the area is a thrill. It would be great to have them as a breeding bird on my local patch, and while they may never reach the sorts of densities here that I’ve seen in North Wales (on a recent trip I counted a dozen soaring birds from mum and dad’s garden), it would be fantastic to start seeing them regularly again.
You can find out more about buzzards in Ireland on the Golden Eagle Trust website.
Hi Calvin. Not sure, but there seems to be a group of 5 buzzards over Brinny today. A colleague at work recognized their call.
Calvin Jones says
Thanks Neil. That’s fairly likely I’d say… there’s a real surge of sightings in Co. Cork. I was leading a school group in Timoleague yesterday and we saw fifteen soaring over an adjacent hillside. Fantastic to see them doing so well.
Neill Bradley says
There is two I regular see over my house near Conna Cork. Incredible to see and always gives me a smile.
Nancy Leahy says
Two buzzards spending a lot of time flying in the skies just outside Macroom Co Cork over the last few weeks amazing birds
Miriam McCarthy says
First time seeing a buzzard was in Wales 6or 7 years ago then I had the pleasure of seeing one a couple of miles from my home perched on a silage bale in middle of a big field I was in awe then last spring a couple of buzzards were nesting very near my home and to my delight they are back again this year ?
Simon Swale says
Beautiful Buzzard swooped low through our garden in Cahernacaha this afternoon. Wow!!
We’ve got a few in south Wexford. Lovely birds.
I drive a school bus around Rathduff, Whitechurch & Carrignavar and I’ve noticed single birds avert couple of weeks close to the road feeding since September 2018.
Just today I watched a pair of buzzards in a field at Whitechurch by the N School which had recently been ploughed and reseeded so birds quite noticeable. I stopped the bus and opened the door yo take a photo, they waited and flew off seperately to far side of field before I got to my phone……
The birds seemed well fed and not too concerned to be near humans.
I’ve seen 4 buzzards looks like two adults and 2 smaller one flying over carrigwell carrignabhfear cork for the last 3 yrs
Colin Mcmahon says
I saw a large bird of prey today in Kildysart in West Care and am 90% sure it was a buzzard. It emerged from a wooded area and landed in an open uncut field. A beautiful sight that maybe happened due to less traffic and human interference now that we are in the middle of Covid 19. Colin.