Buzzards

Cap'n Fishy

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I still say around where I live buzzards are mainly carrion eaters

Great - on your local patch, they find lots of carrion. That does not mean the species is one that lives on carrion throughout its range. On top of which, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. You are not seeing them when they are hunting. Doesn't mean they are not hunting.
 
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Cap'n Fishy

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There are 68,000 breeding pairs of buzzards in Britain, plus young taking the figure to something like 300,000 birds at peak. You've also got carrion and hoodie crows, ravens, red kites, foxes et al, all feeding on carrion... even as Derek points out, golden eagles .. and I would add white-tailed eagles. How much carrion is there? Enough to go round all those, 12 months a year, throughout our country?
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Not quite Buzzards but I've often seen Osprey fishing on the middle Mertoun near the mill and thats an impressive sight. 🐥

There's another bird that must be nearing its traditional numbers in Scotland, given how much extra food we put out for them these days. Lake of Menteith has 4 pairs on it these years. I see them hunting on pretty much all the waters I fish, from the borders to Sutherland. Our own club water has had a pair nest right on its shore for the past 20 years, and now we are seeing a second pair come in from somewhere to the east. I don't know what the natural carrying capacity is, numbers-wise?

One of the things you never appreciate just watching them on film is the extent to which they can come in at a shallow angle. The ones on film always seem to be coming down fairly steep. I saw a couple of successful hunts on Menteith this year when the bird came in from an amazingly shallow angle - less than 45 degrees. You wonder how on earth they can spot the fish at that sort of angle???

Also seeing more osprey-damaged fish in catches these days. Stocking with cormorant-proof rainbows of about 3 lb is putting them just over what an osprey can carry off, and I often see them struggle to get airborne after grabbing a fish... and sometimes they have to give up and drop it. This one on Carron Valley had a helluvajob, but eventually got airborne...





Help!



Mum!



Ooft!



Heave!!!



Success! (y)



Col
 

Cap'n Fishy

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.......and allow for the expected never ending increase in numbers of said birds by the raptor loving loonies.

Their numbers can't increase never-endingly. They can only increase until they are in long-term equilibrium with their food supply/prey species.

 

codyarrow

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Going back to buzzard's I can see were everyone thinks their idea is correct. IMO the total number of buzzards in an area with high road kill will be higher than areas were there are not so many bunnies in the headlights and other nits of splat. Also buzzards in these areas will be seen to hunt less, because they do not have too. They are not the best hunters, in comparison to a sparrow hawk or hen harrier they are slow of flight and clumsy, so I can see why they are labelled 'lazy' - although that may be unfair. In some locations they have to hunt and do so - but what is the density per acre in these areas ?- my guess is it will be low.(although not low enough for some:whistle:)
Unfortunately buzzards do not seem to capture our imagination like other birds of prey and suffer by comparison.
 

easker1

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we had over wintering Ospreys a few years Back these were sea fishing,YesCol The Sea Eagles do take carrion at times, they were also preying on the BT divers on Loch Maree, it's got to be where ever they can get an easy meal, easker1
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Going back to buzzard's I can see were everyone thinks their idea is correct. IMO the total number of buzzards in an area with high road kill will be higher than areas were there are not so many bunnies in the headlights and other nits of splat. Also buzzards in these areas will be seen to hunt less, because they do not have too. They are not the best hunters, in comparison to a sparrow hawk or hen harrier they are slow of flight and clumsy, so I can see why they are labelled 'lazy' - although that may be unfair. In some locations they have to hunt and do so - but what is the density per acre in these areas ?- my guess is it will be low.(although not low enough for some:whistle:)
Unfortunately buzzards do not seem to capture our imagination like other birds of prey and suffer by comparison.

Buzzards are one of my favourite birds. This bit...

...the total number of buzzards in an area with high road kill will be higher than areas were there are not so many bunnies in the headlights and other nits of splat.
... is essentially what I have been trying to say. 😜

They are not the best hunters, in comparison to a sparrow hawk or hen harrier they are slow of flight and clumsy, so I can see why they are labelled 'lazy'...

Evolution does not work that way. Evolution is survival of the 'fittest', where 'fittest' means that species that best 'fits' the niche it is occupying. If buzzards were lacking in any way (while in competition with all other predators around it) it simply would not be here. A good example of a species that is able to be 'lazy' (as a result of zero competition) is the tree kangaroo of New Guinea. That we have buzzards, while we also have sparrowhawks and hen harriers, simply shows that they all fit the niches that nature has evolved them into.

Col
 

Laxdale

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I have just remembered what was amusing me a few years ago when i was sitting on a hill waiting for something to happen. There was a buzzard trying to catch half sized rabbits. It managed to get one after nearly an hour of trying.
As an example of just how blurred the line between reality and fiction is, consider how many years it took for SNH to admit that sea eagles take live lambs.
 

Paul_B

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There's another bird that must be nearing its traditional numbers in Scotland, given how much extra food we put out for them these days. Lake of Menteith has 4 pairs on it these years. I see them hunting on pretty much all the waters I fish, from the borders to Sutherland. Our own club water has had a pair nest right on its shore for the past 20 years, and now we are seeing a second pair come in from somewhere to the east. I don't know what the natural carrying capacity is, numbers-wise?

One of the things you never appreciate just watching them on film is the extent to which they can come in at a shallow angle. The ones on film always seem to be coming down fairly steep. I saw a couple of successful hunts on Menteith this year when the bird came in from an amazingly shallow angle - less than 45 degrees. You wonder how on earth they can spot the fish at that sort of angle???

Also seeing more osprey-damaged fish in catches these days. Stocking with cormorant-proof rainbows of about 3 lb is putting them just over what an osprey can carry off, and I often see them struggle to get airborne after grabbing a fish... and sometimes they have to give up and drop it. This one on Carron Valley had a helluvajob, but eventually got airborne...


Col
We don't have Ospreys where I usually fish but we see a lot of cormorant damage, we stock from 2lb up and they get cormorant damage or eaten, even the fish that are in the double figures are often damaged
 

Cap'n Fishy

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We don't have Ospreys where I usually fish but we see a lot of cormorant damage, we stock from 2lb up and they get cormorant damage or eaten, even the fish that are in the double figures are often damaged

For sure - just because the fish is on the big side, doesn't stop them having a go...



If you want them to avoid having a go at the bigger fish, you need to put out some smaller fish that are easier targets for them! 🤪
 

williegunn

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A good example of a species that is able to be 'lazy' (as a result of zero competition) is the tree kangaroo of New Guinea. That we have buzzards, while we also have sparrowhawks and hen harriers, simply shows that they all fit the niches that nature has evolved them into.

Having never heard of tree kangaroo I googled them, and see they are under threat, perhaps the lazy buggers better get their fingers out!
 

Cap'n Fishy

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I have just remembered what was amusing me a few years ago when i was sitting on a hill waiting for something to happen. There was a buzzard trying to catch half sized rabbits. It managed to get one after nearly an hour of trying.
As an example of just how blurred the line between reality and fiction is, consider how many years it took for SNH to admit that sea eagles take live lambs.

You should go to SNH and stick your boot in their backside.
 

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