Bird Watch – Bird of Prey Seeks Mate by Darren Shepherd

Rough Legged Buzzard (source: copyright Graham Catley,

Well,  spring is just around the corner, and with that the birds are getting excited and singing their hearts out in order  to claim their territory and attract a mate; St Valentine’s day is not just for humans.  Folklaw in some parts has it as the day birds choose their mate and Geoffrey Chaucer mentions ‘Saynt Valentyn’ in his mid-fourteenth-century poem “The Parlement of Fowles” – where three male eagles seek the’claw’ of a female eagle .  In Parkinson’s Park, you may have heard the resident great tits chirping away with their “teacher teacher teacher”calls, along with their pals, the blue tits.

A very attractive wading bird has returned to the Park/building site in the past few days. This bird is the “oystercatcher” a predominantly black and white bird with a bright orange bill. Two birds were seen at 2.30pm yesterday (Friday 17th February).

A very rare bird of prey is currently residing in the Ilkley moor area; a recent arrival from Northern Europe. It is a rough legged buzzard (buteo lagopus) so called because of its feathered legs.  It is much paler than the common buzzard with a white tail and dark terminal band, somewhat resembling a small golden eagle; keep your eyes peeled for a possible visit !  (More pictures from Graham Catley here)

Other birds seen recently in the park have been the resident crows and magpies,  along with the red kite and sparrowhawk,  and a possible peregrine last Wednesday morning!

About Jennifer Inskip Kirkby

Director and Vice Chair of Friends of Parkinson's Park CIC, Chair of Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum and Facilitator of Inskip One-Name Study. Has a degree in Local History (University of Cambridge), and Economics (University of Leeds). Now retired after a career as a Business Analyst and Advisor.
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