For the last few days I’ve been walking from my home in South Devon to my local industrial estate to see the wildlife. There’s more wildlife there than in the local countryside, as there are still wild places untreated by herbicides and insecticides. While I’m there I’ve been enjoying seeing the local Buzzards. There’s a very pale breasted one which is noticeably different from the darker ones nearby.
I suspect it’s a male as I’ve seen it do a huge rollercoaster display, folding its wings and plummeting, then pulling out of the dive and swooping upwards only to repeat the whole process in a series of four climbs and swoops. It landed in trees opposite me but a long, long way away and I was able to spot one of their nests:
Today I can see both Buzzards together in the blue skies. They are circling higher and higher so they are difficult to see with the unaided eye. The sun is bright and I have to strain to see them. I stand on the bank of the river and see nothing else for an hour. Then I spot the Buzzards approaching and suddenly they are performing the most incredible aerobatic display. The pale male is flying up vertically under the female with his legs extended:
It’s all happening so fast they appear to be tumbling but it’s a carefully coordinated display:
He’s completely upside down and extending his claws towards her:
She begins to fly vertically too:
He drops below her slightly and then they circle:
They have wings and tails fully extended and are both reaching out with their talons.
Having said all of that, it’s still possible that it’s a territorial dispute and the other bird is an immature one.
As soon as I get back home I order a copy of The Life of Buzzards by Peter Dare. After today, I want to know as much as possible about them. Wouldn’t you?