Mar. 3rd, 2012

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We just called into the local RSPB centre to continue the sleuthing on J's dead buzzard.

It always amazes me how knowledgeable the local birding community are on all matters ornithological, and today's investigation proved no different. J presented them with the ring, they hummed and hawed, and informed us that the bird in question couldn't have been a buzzard, because the ring had clearly been fitted while the bird was a chick.  Within moments, they concluded that the poor dead creature must have been a Harris hawk that was lost several years ago by a local falconer who'd been out flying the creature on a farm not too far away.

I know nothing about Harris hawks, so I just looked them up on Wikipedia (photo comes courtesy of their good selves...) and I understand that they're sociable hawks which hunt in packs, originate in North America and are - surprise, surprise - in decline in the wild due to loss of habitat.  They're the most popular bird of prey in Western falconry circles, and reference to the Independent Bird Register reveals that a number have gone missing in recent months.

File:Harris's Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) 3 of 4 in set.jpg

Unfortunately, we couldn't marry up our ring number with any of the missing birds, but hopefully the owner will find out what happened eventually and learn of his raptor's fate.  If he doesn't hear through the website, I'm sure the local jungle drums will get the message through to him eventually (I'm assuming it's a 'him' and not a 'her'.)

I can't help feeling sorry for the poor thing.  It's a sorry end for such a magnificient bird, to be found as a badly mangled decomposed heap in a suburban garden near Paisley...


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