The term ‘hawk’ is used by most people to refer to those raptors that do not fit into the categories of eagle, falcon, vulture, or owl. The term covers a variety of both broad-winged birds of prey, such as the buzzards, kites, and harriers, and also the short-wing true hawks.
The true hawks include the Goshawk and Sparrow hawk and make up the large scientific group Accipiter. These birds are generally more highly strung than other birds of prey having incredibly quick responses. Their method of hunting is usually an explosive, low level, short distance pursuit normally after other birds, who are seized by the hawks large feet and long legs. Their short rounded wings and large tail enable them to maneuver through dense woodland and forests. Many of you will have seen sparrow-hawks catch small birds in your garden.
Buzzards or ‘Buteos’ are mostly medium sized birds of prey with long, broad wings and tail designed for soaring. The common buzzard has grown dramatically in numbers in recent years in the UK and is often seen locally, soaring over the falconry center.
Despite being seen gracefully spiraling to great heights on thermals with its large wings spread wide, the common buzzard is a fairly lazy, sluggish bird, even in summer, and is most likely to be seen ‘still hunting’ from a fence post or similar perch. In dry weather, groups of common buzzards may often be seen in fields hopping from foot to foot to create the sound of rain, which encourages worms to rise to the surface.