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Buzzards hovering (1 Viewer)

mickbe74

Well-known member
I know Common Buzzards hover a bit sometimes but i saw two today along the M5 about ten miles apart,the first when i saw it from a distance, i was 100% sure was a Kestral until i got closer and realised how big it was,the second i was more expecting but they really were hovering,Kestral style,i wonder whether it was the weather conditions,a certain prey or something else,it was just unusual,they were just above the modest sized tree-line within a few metres from the motorway,any thoughts.
 

Mark B Bartosik

Well-known member
Only insects and small birds (hummingbirds) can hover for long time, medium sized birds and bats can hover for shorter periods, but larger birds are unable to hover at all.

Several hawks can remain motionless over the spot on the ground (or water) in flapping flight which look like hovering. But they are cheating - they are moving relative to the atmosphere. They are actually flying into a headwind.

I used this term (“hover“) in my Osprey folders only because it is often used even in research papers so I did not want to confuse some visitors. Time permitted, I do plan to change this in the future including an explanation.

Here you can see a few examples of Osprey different way of flapping when flying into the headwind:

http://www.pbase.com/mbb/osprey__hovering - just click on gif files to see animation.

All the best,

Mark
 

Cartman

Well-known member
same thing happened to me about a year ago, saw a bird hovering from a distance and was convinced it was a Kestrel but as I got closer it was clearly as Buzzard
 

mickbe74

Well-known member
I realise Kestrals and Buzzards do not actually hover but rather hang in the wind,i was more interested in the Buzzards behaviour being Kestral like,point taken though,i actually saw another today in Staffordshire,doing the same thing ie not hovering like a Kestral,maybe the time of year.
 

Biancone

to err is human
Perhaps there is a debate to be had about how to define "hovering". But I suspect (European) Kestrel could hover in effectively still air if it needed to, on the other hand it makes sense to save energy using the wind if possible. The amazing thing about Kestrels is the way the body can move up or down or sideways, to cope with wind variation, but the head - with those all-important eyes and ears - can stay almost stationary with respect to the ground! I have the impression that Common Buzzards 'hover' more in windy conditions or where the topography creates an upcurrent, and that some individuals develop more of a habit of doing it than others.
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
Perhaps there is a debate to be had about how to define "hovering". But I suspect (European) Kestrel could hover in effectively still air if it needed to, on the other hand it makes sense to save energy using the wind if possible. The amazing thing about Kestrels is the way the body can move up or down or sideways, to cope with wind variation, but the head - with those all-important eyes and ears - can stay almost stationary with respect to the ground! I have the impression that Common Buzzards 'hover' more in windy conditions or where the topography creates an upcurrent, and that some individuals develop more of a habit of doing it than others.

It must be 40 years ago that I took some time off from doing a site survey with a tacheometer to watch a kestrel hovering in the hunt. I turned the 28x telescope of the instrument onto it to get a better view. The body adjusted constantly up and down to make up for air movements, but as you say, the head stated still. The bird's eye never moved from the cross-hairs until the kestrel changed its station.
 

Ptarmi

Dick Glasgow
I must say, I regularly see Buzzards hovering over here.

Do we really need to get our knickers in a twist here, over the term hovering? |8.|

Let's face it, we all know that technically Kestrels & Buzzards are not actually hovering, as in a vacuum, but after all, we also all know what we mean, when we use the term.

So let's just enjoy the spectacle! :t:

Cheers,
Dick
 

John B (not the sloop)

Don't blame me I didn't vote for 'em
Perhaps there is a debate to be had about how to define "hovering". But I suspect (European) Kestrel could hover in effectively still air if it needed to, on the other hand it makes sense to save energy using the wind if possible.

They can't sustain a hover in windless conditions (though can achieve it for a few seconds). This was once demonstrated for me by a falconer.

In order to hover in flat calm conditions a Kestrel would need to throw a lot of hair vertically downwards and balance on the top of the downthrust. This is seriously hard work so can't be kept up for long.
 

shark attack

Well-known member
If you google what actually hovering means...then we could say for definite that a lot more birds ( especially BOP ) can hover than Kestrels and Buzzards. I have seen GE hovering whether it motionless using a headwind or even using its wings albeit not as long as smaller BOP.

Dont exactly know mind you and would not like to say if a GE could do this in zero wind conditions.

Only today seen a tree sparrow hover outside the sitting room window after some kind of fly or bug. This I have never witnessed but it did stay in the same place but struggled after a very short time. Have also seen blue tit do this just underneath my feeders for very small amounts of time...mind you unlike BOP they are struggling and not looking down for food...but they are actually hovering.
 
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I saw this yesterday on the way home, alongside the M69. I noticed something "hovering", thought it was a kestrel and then saw it was far too big to be a kestrel and clocked it was a buzzard. then blow me if there wasn't another one a few miles further on. Never seen one to that before and there are loads of buzzards round here. Interesting though, made me appreciate them a bit more.
 

Fernando np

Well-known member
Almost every raptor can be seen "hovering"with a little help of the headwind. Although energetically demanding hovering gives you a watchtower where there isn't any. The hunting technique is different and raptor must have very clear their advantages is every situation. By the way, in Spain you can enjoy with an "giant" expert in stationary fligth, the Short-toed Eagle.
 

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