A lot of photographers have been enquiring about the buzzard hide over the New Year period so I thought a quick update would be useful.
I set the trail camera up again yesterday to see who was about and was pleased to see the juvenile buzzard down both yesterday and today. In the past, the adult buzzards had the run of area around the hide. Buzzards will happily exist in smaller territories as long as the competition for food remains low. If competition does creep up, it's almost always the adults they keep the territory which makes seeing the youngster on its own all the more surprising. The buzzard hide is always busy at this time of year. With fewer hours of daylight in which to hunt, scavenging food is an essential method of coming by food. This is doubly true when faced with testing weather conditions. This is a mixed blessing for the photographer however - lots of activity but often unflattering light.
In terms of feeding at the buzzard hide, I think I've cracked it. Presenting food every day or thereabouts doesn't work. This is something I've never done firstly because I don't want to habituate the birds. The trick is to keep them guessing. A food item will last about 2-3 days depending on conditions and how much the birds eat. (I've seen a whole pheasant being devoured in a matter of 30 minutes.) Presenting food for more than 3 days means it begins to decompose and it's un-natural - foxes and other scavengers would have cleaned it up after that long. So, by putting food out for a few days then having 4-5 off, neither habituation or complacency come into play. Several photographers have asked when to book for the best chance of snow. This is usually late February or each March from the last few years but as you'll appreciate, it's tough to predict.
Here's the latest footage.