Common buzzard, the most common bird of prey in Limousin

When I was a child, we spent our summer holidays with my grandmother in a farm near Conce, in Correzi. I must have been shy, clumsy and cowardly, like city kids facing the reality of the countryside.

I was afraid of Tintin, the neighbor’s big black dog, the black-faced sows with drooping ears that my aunt brought from Coudert to drive to the pigsties every night. Their growls made my hair stand on end.

But I was most impressed by the buzzard! I watched him hover in the sky, he seemed huge to me. It was an eagle for me, if not a condor from Correz.

On a fine August day, we were alerted by a neighbor’s scream, and I just had time to see how a large brown bird took off with difficulty a few meters from the house.

A duckling lay on the ground with a bloody head. From the TV, little Saturninus looked like two drops of water. I can still hear my neighbor complaining, in French to me and Limousine to myself. “Damn chicken,” she cried, pointing her index finger vengefully at a tiny black dot in the sky.

Necessary for natural balance

I followed him with my eyes until he melted into the sky, caressing the yellow fluff of the unfortunate little bird.

Time has done its job, and today I know that the nozzle is necessary for natural balance. It feeds on rodents, small birds, reptiles and even insects.

It is the most common diurnal bird of prey in Limousin. He does not hesitate to sit in the open air, in plain sight, on a post, stake or even a roll of straw. The female is much larger than the male, its weight can reach one kilogram three hundred grams with a wingspan of one meter thirty. The male weighs about six hundred grams. The plumage is reddish-brown with variations that warrant the designation “variable.” The rounded tail distinguishes it from the black kite it resembles.

A buzzard can see six times better than us humans

Their nest is most often set in a forest area, at a fork in a tree, from where there is an exit to the edge of the forest, a meadow or a field. The female lays two to four eggs, which she incubates for thirty-five days. The young stay for about two months with their parents, who take turns feeding them. They will remain dependent for another two months before flying off on their own and taking over territory.

The buzzard emits a plaintive cry both during flight and while sitting. Its vision is the sharpest of all birds of prey. If the human retina has about 160,000 photoreceptors, the buzzard’s retina has more than a million. It records 160 images per second, a human – 24. It is believed that a buzzard can see six times better than us! He flies in a circle above them, then swoops down and grabs them with his claws.

Protected animal. The service life of the nozzle is twenty-five years. Conditionally pathogenic, in the period of shortage it feeds on carrion and earthworms. Its plumage is more or less distinct depending on whether it lives in northern or southern Europe. Its geographical distribution extends from the Atlantic to Siberia. In France, the buzzard, like all birds of prey, has been protected since 1972. It is not threatened with extinction, but the number of subjects is stagnating, while in other European countries it is progressing.

Christian Lane


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