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 Post subject: Mega garden nester.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:01 pm
Posts: 989
Location: North Somercotes
This year, we had a pair of Common Buzzards nesting in the garden, and although the outcome was not successful, the presence of such an unexpected “garden-nester” was an undoubted privilege.

I recorded single Buzzards roosting in the garden occasionally over the winter period, but a pair became more regular in late February and March onwards. Initially, they were observed mostly circling not very high over the garden and also over nearby spinneys and a belt of trees. Not much aerial displaying was seen; some light mutual contact with the talons was noted once and some sky-dancing with deep diving displays was seen on another occasion. When another Buzzard passed south near the garden in early April, it was joined by the pair, one of which was frequently calling, but the intruder was not attacked and was merely escorted away as all three birds circled close together and out of the territory.

I saw no evidence of any nest-building, and I merely saw occasional, though fairly regular discrete comings and goings of the male through April and May. Sometimes, he would be perched on one of two favourite look-out points. If I was gardening nearby, I would be greeted by a calling, low-circling bird, but as I could see no trace of a nest, I was assuming that this was probably a young pair merely prospecting a territory.

This idea changed in mid-June, when suddenly I heard the recognizable calls of a young bird. The calls were only sporadic, but sounded a weak, babyish version of the adult’s “pee-eee-er”. The calling came from a different section of the garden from where I had looked previously. Upon closer inspection, I could see the nest near the top of a Scots pine about 40 feet from the ground. It was only visible from directly below due to the masking of surrounding trees and was situated next to the pine where Sparrowhawks had nested in 2012. The nest-site was only about 80 yards from our back-door.

Obviously, I did not know the original clutch-size, but at no time was I aware of more than one young bird as there was never any multiple calling heard, and from the restricted viewing position I was able to see part of a well-grown young bird only once when it defaecated beyond the edge of the nest. As it grew, the insistent wailing of the chick became stronger and more assured and could be heard from the house on some days. We last heard it calling on the afternoon of 9th July and, after hearing nothing on 10th, I went to inspect the nest on 11th. I was devastated to see the young bird hanging dead in the canopy only about three feet out from the nest. By next day it had slipped lower down the tree and I eventually managed to poke it down to the ground by using drain-rods. The bird was fully-feathered with well-developed flight and tail feathers, but I was shocked to discover its prominent breast-bone and emaciated-looking body. This made me wonder if anything might have happened to one of the adults, neither of which we have seen since. Needless to say, but we were deeply depressed by such an outcome so close to fledging.

A pair of Chiffchaffs also bred here for the first time this year, thus giving a total of 38 definite garden nesting species. Such a good range was attainable since the original fallow field was planted with a broad range of trees and shrubs and has been monitored through the various stages towards maturity. Several interesting species have nested, but the Buzzards have been the best by far. It was hardly a bird I would have envisaged when I was planting the trees thirty years ago, particularly when considering its county status in those days.


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 Post subject: Re: Mega garden nester.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:35 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 10:58 am
Posts: 1358
Location: Theddlethorpe
A very rewarding experience (although sad loss of young buzzard) for the vision and
care you have had with the project over the 30 years Steve, what next I wonder ?

regards John


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