Buzzards successfully raise a chick. In mid-April 2020 a pair of Buzzards were spotted building a nest in a pine tree visible from our house and garden in Cheshire, UK. Over the next three months we were to watch this pair build the nest, incubate the egg(s), raise a single chick and then get to see the chick practice flying on a regular basis until it took to the skies on its maiden flight. Episode 1 charted the building of the nest, incubating the egg(s) and the activity of the parents around the nest. Episode 2 recorded the raising the chick with frequent deliveries of rodents, rabbits and birds, mostly by the male parent. This final episode (Episode 3) captures the chick stretching its wings, doing short practice flights and then finally leaving the nest.
The Buzzard is the most common bird of prey in the UK with up to 80,000 breeding pairs. By the 1950s these birds had largely disappeared from most of the UK as a consequence of persecution by gamekeepers and pesticide use. They are now protected and, with the decline in pesticide use, their numbers have more than quadrupled in the last fifty years. They are a splendid sight as they soar across the sky in search of prey.
The female is larger than the male and can weigh up to 1.3 kg. They have a wingspan up to 1.28m. Buzzards are opportunistic predators taking a wide range of prey, such as rodents, rabbits and birds. When times are challenging they will take insects and earthworms. Buzzards mate for life and are highly territorial defending the domain fiercely. Two to four eggs are laid with hatching occurring around 35 days later. The chicks fledge after about two months.
Some of the footage shown was taken by Jenny Varley (website: jennymvarley.co.uk)