buzzard defined in 1930 yearbuzzard - Buzzard;
buzzard - Upper parts, neck, and head dark brown mottled with brown of a darker shade; tail marked with twelve transverse bands; beak lead-coloured; cere, irides, and feet yellow. Length: male, twenty inches; female, twenty-two inches.
It is impossible for anyone who loves wild bird life to write about the buzzard without a feeling of profound melancholy. For this hawk, too, like the harriers, although once common, and still called in books the common buzzard, is a vanishing species. Howard Saunders writes: ' Fifty years ago it used to breed in Norfolk and in other counties abounding in partridges and ground game, without being considered incompatible with their existence; but with the increase of pheasant-worship the doom of the buzzard was sealed, for, the larger the " hawk," the worse it must necessarily be!'
My one consolation in this sad portion of my work, which tells of the noble and useful species whose ' doom is sealed,' is, that I am not writing for grown men, but for the young, who are not yet the slaves of a contemptible convention, nor have come under a system which has been only too mildly described as stupid ' by every British ornithologist during the last five or six decades.
This once common bird is now almost unknown in England, and must be sought for in the wildest forest districts of Wales and Scotland. It is of a somewhat sedentary disposition, and in seeking its food displays little of the dashing and courageous spirit of the falcons. Small mammals, especially moles, reptiles, birds of various kinds, and insects, are its prey, which in all cases it drops upon and seizes on the ground. It is strongly attached to one favourite spot, and will return day after day to the same perch, where it will sit for hours at a stretch. All the buzzards show best when flying, and the appearance of the present species was thus described by Sir William Jardine: 'The flight is slow and majestic; the birds rise in easy and graceful gyrations, often to an immense height, uttering occasionally their shrill and melancholy whistle. At this time, to a spectator underneath, and in particular lights, they appear of immense size; the motions of the tail when directing the circles may be plainly perceived, as well as the beautiful markings on it and the wings, sometimes rendered very plain and distinct by the body being thrown upwards, and the light falling on the clear and silvery tints of the base of the feathers. The buzzard is a fine accompaniment to the landscape, whether sylvan or wild and rocky.'
It nests both on crags and in forest trees, and sometimes makes use of the old nest of some other bird. The nest is of sticks, and is sometimes very large, lined with wool or some other soft material, and often with green leaves. Two to four eggs are laid, but three is the usual number. They vary from white, suffused with reddish brown, to bluish green, spotted, streaked, and clouded with reddish brown, with purple-grey under-markings.
near buzzard in Knolik
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