Tuesday January 15th 2013
We received a wild Buzzard form Barrow in Furness on Sunday, and a wild Buzzard from Eskdale on Monday. We hadn’t received any for a few years, and then suddenly two appear at once! They came in during my days off. I looked in on them this morning, and from what I can see, at least one of them is a juvenile, possibly one of 2012’s offspring. The way you can tell is by the eye colour. Juveniles have pale almost yellow eyes. Adult’s eyes are brown. The light in the quarantine unit is quite dark, but one bird’s eyes seemed quite light. The other bird was still on the ground and appears not able to fly. I have examined it. It appears to be a male. It is rather small and fine boned. As a rule, males tend to be smaller with smaller feet. This bird’s wings appear okay with no brakes or sprains. One of the feet is quite swollen, probably an old injury, possibly caused by a squirrel bite. The swelling looks like ‘Bumble foot’, which is caused by infection. This is all educated guess work. Having said that, squirrels are very much on a Common Buzzard’s menu, so that scenario isn’t that unlikely. I was having a conversation a few years ago with a World Owl Trust contact from Minnesota in the United States of America, and she said she frequently dealt with Red Tailed Buzzards, (known as Red Tailed Hawks in America), which had Bumble foot due to Squirrel bites. The Red Tailed Buzzard is closely related to the Common Buzzard from Eurasia, but is larger and more powerful. Bearing in mind that these injuries are caused by Grey Squirrels, would this kind of injury therefore not be just as likely to occur this side of the pond in a closely related species hunting the same prey? I think it highly likely. Anyway, with injured feet, this bird is going to have problems surviving in the wild long term. We will have to see how ‘he’ progresses. The idea is to give both birds a bit of ‘R & R’ and the release them back where they came from. Fingers crossed.
On the home front, we have nearly finished the annual nest box overhaul, which is good, as this means we are ready for the imminent 2013 breeding season.
See you next week
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