Buzzard – 2007-12 winter

Buteo buteo – BWNCATH – Breeding resident

Adult Buzzards in Britain are highly sedentary and territorial, rarely moving out of their breeding territory once established. In contrast, some continental populations migrate well south for the winter. Thus the distribution of buzzards in Pembrokeshire in winter is pretty much the same as in the breeding season.

Young Buzzards, dispersing from natal sites, tend to wander the countryside in search of food and their own territories.  They often gather in autumn and winter wherever invertebrate and carrion food is plentiful. Groups of 20-30 birds in stubble or ploughed fields are not uncommon.

Impressive movements of these nomadic immature birds are occasionally noted, for example, 58 flying west over Treginnis, near St Davids, on 5 October 2005.

Ringing studies in the BTO Migration Atlas suggest that most first winter birds typically stay within 20km of their natal sites, but some do go further in their initial explorations.  An extreme example is a female nestling ringed near Lampeter (Ceredigion) in June 1977, and found in Northumberland in May 1990, while a bird tagged in Dumfries, Scotland, in 1994 turned up in Caernarfonshire a year later.  As most ringing recoveries are of dead birds, it may be worth checking any road casualties and other corpses for rings to further this knowledge locally.

The BTO Atlas 2007-11 shows no change in winter distribution across Pembrokeshire (or most of Wales) and their relative abundance here is similar to that across the rest of Wales (though it is lower in the mountains)and south-west England.

Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)

References:

BALMER D, GILLINGS S, CAFFREY B, SWANN B, DOWNIE I, FULLER R. 2014. Bird Atlas 2007-11: The Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland.  HarperCollins.  UK

HBW – Handbook of the Birds of the World

LACK P. 1986.  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland, T & A. D. Poyser, London

LOVEGROVE R, WILLIAMS G, WILLIAMS I. 1994.  Birds in Wales. T & A. D. Poyser, London

Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

WERNHAM. C, TOMS. M, MARCHANT. J, CLARK. J, SIRIWARDENA. G, BAILLIE. S. 2002. The Migration Atlas, Movements of the birds of Britain and Ireland, T & A. D. Poyser, London

More about the Buzzard in Pembrokeshire