The Life of Buzzards is an encyclopaedic account of everything a bird enthusiast would want to know about the common buzzard. It includes seasonal studies, territories, feeding, breeding, population and distribution, buzzard predation and persecution. The book is set out in a logical manner, with easy references, dozens of helpful photographs, maps and graphs plus over 30 appendices summarising much of the book content.
Since it is the most common bird of prey, I thought I knew the buzzard pretty well but there are many revelations in this book of which I had no knowledge. This is hardly surprising since the author has spent 60 years studying buzzards, which include countless hours in hides watching nests. The main study areas for this book are Devon, North Wales and Speyside, with occasional comparisons with Sweden and Germany.
Unsurprisingly, the breeding season for buzzards is the largest section and covers prey volume and species for chicks, plus their survival rate. This chapter also details instances of clutches of four or more eggs, plus rare bigamous males.
There are few books that cover a single species in as much detail, and it is a book that will definitely appeal to birders and raptor specialists.
The Life of Buzzards, by Peter Dare. £22.99. Published by Whittles Publishing, Dunbeath, Caithness, KW6 6EG.