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Helping to save a buzzard's life


On Tuesday, after school, Mum, Dad, me and my baby brother Sam went on a walk for a nature diary for my school. I had picked a walk in a wood I know really well where I knew I would see tons of wildlife, like red squirrels, roe deer, red kites, buzzards, grey herons, ducks and pheasants. Mum and I went on ahead, and Dad went a different route with Sam in a papoose and said he would meet us to watch the red kites.

Mum and I walked up through the woods to where the red-legged partridge live. At the edge of the woods I saw a buzzard. Normally I see tons of buzzards on walks, but I've never seen one this close. It was flying a short distance then landing. It didn't seem to be able to fly very far or very high. I thought that was strange.

This is when it was sitting in the field. When I went close it opened up its wings and kind of hissed but it didn't fly away.

I saw Dad and Sam on the other side of the field. Dad was photographing the red kites but I called him, and he came over. Dad phoned the Scottish SPCA to see whether they could help the buzzard and what to do next. The SSPCA said they would like to help and would send an inspector if we could catch it. Then when we weren't looking the buzzard flew into the edge of the wood.

Dad and I went into the wood and spent ages and ages looking for the buzzard but we couldn't find it. Then just as we were about to give up because it was getting dark, Dad kicked a fallen down tree and saw something move underneath. It was the buzzard ! Dad pulled back the branches and put my GoreTex over it. Then he wrapped it up tight and put another bit of material round it and we walked home.

When we got home, we put it in a cat box. It was just the right size. This is me with it and my new neighbour Andrew who moved in next door ten days ago.

The buzzard didn't seem happy, but it didn't seem sad either.

Later that night, an SSPCA inspector called Brian came to look at the buzzard. Brian was absolutely cool. He told me all sorts of stuff about the buzzard, like it was an adult male, and that the females are bigger than the males. Then he looked at the buzzard to see what was wrong with it.

First he looked at the bird to see if he could see any injury, but he couldn't. Then he pulled out each wing to make sure the wing wasn't broken. The wings seemed fine.

Then he put the bird on its back and asked me to feel its chest with my fingers, just to the side of the keel. It felt empty or hollow. Inspector Brian said this was because the birds gullet was empty because it hadn't eaten for about three days. The bird was hungry and weak.

Because the bird was only hungry Brian could help it recover by taking it to a special hospital for animals that the SSPCA have in Dunfermline. They would keep it for a few weeks and make sure it is healthy again before taking it back to the same woods.

Brian could hold the buzzard in a special way so the claws didn't dig into his hands. The SSPCA had told us to be really careful with the buzzard's claws because they could hurt us badly.

Then he wrapped the buzzard in two towels and put it in his own cat box to take away. He said he would let us know how the buzzard was doing and that was really nice of him.

I see tons and tons of buzzards on walks, but this is the closest I've ever been to one that was alive. I found one that was dead this winter, and I have found three buzzard skulls. You are not really supposed to have buzzard skulls unless you can show how the bird died, but my dad spoke to a police officer and the police officer said it was okay which is good because I like collecting skulls but not enough to go to prison.

The SSPCA were really brilliant because they were caring for a bird even though some people think buzzards are a pest. Brian was brilliant too because he spent loads of time talking to about the buzzard even though he was really busy and works really hard.

If you find a buzzard that is sick, this is what you need to do:

  • Don't give it food or water until the a proper person has looked at it. Buzzards can't drink water through their beak anyway because they get their water from the meat they eat

  • If you live in Scotland, phone the SSPCA on 03000 999 999. If you live in England or Wales phone the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999. They can tell you what to do. I don't who to phone if you live somewhere else.

  • If you can put a coat over it, that stops it flying away.

  • If you pick it up, be really careful of the claws.

I hope this buzzard gets better soon and is soon flying around again. This is another buzzard that lives near my school in the village.

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meaghanedwards said...

Aww, nice save! They are beautiful birds.

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