Birds Of A Feather

By and for Bird-People

The Nature of Buzzard


[This is a guest post by Sunburn.]

When I write Buzzard, I do not mean the scavengers of North America. I am talking about the Common/Eurasian Buzzard, the Buteo buteo.

Well, now, where do I start describing buzzard… Buzzard is fierce, so very fierce. He is easily angered, by sometimes petty things. But he does not make it as obvious as other birds. His anger is constantly bubbling beneath the feathery surface, not easily brought to a break-out. But if you do push Buzzard over the line… be prepared for a wildly screeching, wing-flapping mess of bird and hate.

Buzzard tolerates the presences of other buzzards, and other buzzards only. Together, they can sometimes be seen in ‘flocks’ of up to twenty birds, each of them keeping their distance, but still in a strong communication with the other. I often recognise this in myself; when I dislike surrounding myself with not like-minded people. People wanting to stay in contact with me must either think similar to me, or we just won’t work out. Buzzard is stubborn there.

But as much as buzzard tolerates and seeks out other birds, as much is he also extremely territorial. Not just of habitat and range and prey, but of his mate as well. Invade a buzzard couple’s territory as another bird of prey, and chances are, they’re going to defend it more than they’d do it alone.

Buzzard is, like probably all avians, a bird of wind. I have seen some bird people draw associations with specific kind of winds, like spring wind or thermal winds. I do the same with Buzzard. Buzzard is a bird of rough late-autumn wind. Strong, blunt, not sugar-coated, yet not as cold and icy as the winds of winter. Buzzard has a specific affinity to strong gusts of wind as well. He is rain and early morning frost that still melts away, and the harsh bite of the winter coming.

Unlike other birds of prey, Buzzard does a lot of static, unmoving watching. I have seen buzzards perching on high posts for hours on end, just occasionally stretching their wings. They perch, they blend in, they go unnoticed by both human and animals alike. This is our form of hovering; watching for prey.

This, however, does in no way indicate that buzzard is a slow, clumsy, non-moving bird. Buzzard is fast, is agile, is diving at break-neck speed with talons outstretched towards the prey. They combat in the air when they are battling for territory. The males dance to woo the ladies in a series of graceful dives and soars. Buzzard is a bird of moving. Ghostly feathers painting shadows in opened forest landscapes, leaving behind nothing but a feeling and the occasional fallen feather.

Buzzard is, like all of the buteo family, an opportunist. He doesn’t shy away from carrion; he swallows his pride and coats it with stolen meat, be it the slowly dissolving carcass of a fox, or be it mince used to attract raptors to cameras. He will gladly share carrion with other birds (namely magpies) but he won’t share with any other raptors. He will hunt lizards or raid open garbage bags, as he is also a bird that nests in close proximity to small towns.

His opportunistic nature also shows in the way he nests. Preferred are edges of the forest, high up in trees, but I have already seen them raise their young in abandoned attics.

Buzzard is a sharp bird. No soft features loosen up his sleek silhouette. Everything in his form speaks of necessity. In mythological and symbolic context, this can be applied as a sign of the blunt force tool called truth. Buzzard is painfully honest, and he’ll never sugar-coat things to make them look better. He soars above the web of lies, into endless horizons of truth. As edgy as it sounds, that is buzzard to me. Necessity, usefulness, and never-ending honesty.

Buzzard is a rough bird, quick to raise their hackles and fluff their feathers, and to screech in indignation. They find enemies in many beings, be it their young or a falcon mobbing them back to the edges of a forest. They surround themselves with either loneliness or like-minded beings, there is no in-between. They are birds of blunt, unfriendly, even hostile winds that bring storms and rain, but not of storms and rain per se.

Buzzard is a bird that belongs to sky, the wind and the outskirts of the forest.

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