Buzzards in Ireland
Photographing Buzzards on our Boat Trips
One of my favourite birds to photograph and point out on our boat trips is the Common Buzzard. As a kid growing up in Kildare, these to me were very uncommon. It is only in the last 10 or so years that these have really bounced back throughout the country. Experts will tell you different of course as real bird watchers will say that they have been coming back since the 1930’s when a pair successfully hatched young in Antrim. For me, what I really love is that they have become so common place now. With less poison being laid on farmland in particular, most of the birds of prey are really coming back. Simply driving a long a road anywhere, it is possible to see these beautiful birds resting on telegraph pole or trees. What I notice when I bring people out on the boat is that most don’t take the time to look around or up. Pointing out buzzards on most of our boat trips, people are amazed to see these magnificent birds for the first time. They are so common now on our tours in Laois, Kildare, Carlow and even Kilkenny city, that we are nearly guaranteed to see them every time we are out on the river. They are usually noticed first by their very distinctive call that can be heard all around the river valley. It is a high-pitched, drawn-out pee-oo and the river provides a perfect hunting ground as they feed on a wide variety of prey. This includes, rabbits, frogs, rats, mice, worms and young water foul. It is also not uncommon to see them eating dead animals. I guess its natures way of recycling. Below are several pictures myself and my good friend John Fagan took over the past year while out on the waterways. In one, you can see a buzzard or two eating a dead fox. These really are a beautiful bird and hopefully if you are out for a boat trip with us over the coming summer on either the river Barrow or Nore, you will get to photograph them or see them up close yourself.