Buzzard bunch at Schirmeyer & Line streets. (Photo by Jannaya Andrews)
Could the turkey buzzards (or turkey vulture, if you prefer) perched all over a large tree at the corner of Winchester and Schirmeyer streets in Decatur last week been on their way to Hinckley, Ohio?
No matter. Such a congregation of these creatures inside city limits is an unusual sight.
Every year on March 15 the city of Hinckley has eagerly awaited the return of the buzzards at "Buzzards' Roost" at the Hinckley Reservation, part of the Cleveland Metroparks.
According to The Associated Press, the first official buzzard of this season was seen by buzzard spotter Bob Hinkle with the Cleveland Metroparks just before 8:30 a.m. Tuesday across a tree line in Hinckley, south of Cleveland.
By tradition, buzzards have returned to Hinckley each March 15 since 1819. The buzzards were attracted by thawing carcasses of livestock predators that were killed months earlier by farmers.
The regional park system said in a statement that several hundred people turned out for the latest renewal of the buzzard tradition.
The buzzard, a common name for the "turkey vulture," is a large graceful bird with a bald head and red beak. No relation to the black, Old World vulture family, which includes the eagle, hawk, and kite, the buzzard is native to the Americans from southern Canada to the tip of Cape Horn.