In a flap over buzzards

Stefan Johansson

Is there any record of buzzards causing road accidents, simply because I get really excited when I see one flying over the motorway.

I saw one this morning flapping above the traffic on the M65, how lucky are we to have these majestic birds living in our local countryside?

My favourite buzzard moment was in Scotland where I drove past a buzzard sitting on a fence with two cheeky crows on either side of it. It was an I-wish-I-had-a-camera moment, but a lovely memory.

I also remember sitting in a traffic queue coming off the M602 onto the M60 at Worsley, where pesky crows were pestering a young buzzard in the woodland in between those busy roads.

It is great to know that these wonderful birds are around to pick up any dead animals on our mosslands too. Watching them soar above Red Moss or Astley Moss is exhilarating and a rather soothing experience.

You can listen out for the cat-like, “kee-yaa” calls before the buzzard comes into view high up in the blue skies we are experiencing in this lovely summer.

The buzzard has suffered from wrongful persecution and pesticide poisoning, but it has made a stunning comeback to most of the UK and, wonderfully, in Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside.

The Lancashire Bird Atlas reports: “It is now thought that at least 450 pairs breed in the county, a striking increase from the 70 pairs estimated in 2000.”

It’s difficult to miss a buzzard they grow to a couple of feet long and have a wingspan of four feet when soaring above us.

A buzzard’s average lifespan is 12 years, so it’s great to see young ones that are around at the moment.

Buzzards eat small birds, mammals and carrion, but will also eat large insects and earthworms when prey is in short supply.

In the spring, male buzzards perform a rollercoaster display, soaring up high and then swooping down over and over again to attract a mate.

Once paired, buzzards construct their bulky nest in the fork of a large tree, often near to a wood. The female will lay between two and four eggs, which take just over a month to hatch.

Once again, on day 26 of 30 Days Wild, I feel blessed to live in our beautiful, wildlife-friendly region.