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Front-cover photograph: Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus, Spain, August 2019. 

Yeray Seminario


182      BB eye: Saving Turtle Doves on a grand scale                       Carles Carboneras and Beatriz Arroyo

186      News and comment    Maddy Hine and Russ Malin

190      British Honey-buzzard survey, 2020–21        Rob Clements, Ken D. Shaw, Christopher J. McInerny, Carol Miller and Steve Roberts 

198      The Honey-buzzard in central Scotland          Christopher J. McInerny and Ken D. Shaw

213      Post-fledging behaviour of juvenile Honey-buzzards             Rob Clements, Ken D. Shaw, Carol Miller and Christopher J. McInerny

216      Genetic analysis of the Hume’s Lark from Israel in 1986 Thomas J. Shannon, Tereza Senfeld, J. Martin Collinson and Yosef Kiat

218      The identification of Scottish Crossbill          Mark Lewis and Christopher J. McInerny

221      Notes

225      Obituaries

230      Reviews

234      Focus on…

235      Recent reports

237      My patch


You don’t have to go far from Britain to have a pretty good chance of seeing a Honey-buzzard. During my teenage years, we would take holidays to central France. The garden backed onto some cow pastures and, beyond them, was an extensive area of forestry. Each afternoon, Honey-buzzards – up to six at a time – would circle over the wood, calling loudly as they did so. Here in southern Sweden, at Falsterbo in particular, there’s a long association with Honey-buzzards – the peninsula was historically famous for its salted Honey-buzzards, which were procured when birds came to roost in the evening and were said to be the best in Europe(!); more recently, birders have visited the area around the end of August for ‘Honey-buzzard Day’ (now Falsterbo Bird Show), when several thousand birds can pass through in a single day. Annual totals can reach 5,000–6,000, though those figures pale into insignificance compared to the numbers that pass through bottlenecks in eastern Europe, such as at Batumi, Georgia, where day counts can be 20 times that number.

And yet, in Britain, the Honey-buzzard remains a scarce and stubbornly elusive species. Low concentrations and the species’ secretive nature while breeding make them hard to detect, and historical observer secretiveness around breeding location meant that, in many cases, only the observers themselves would know the whereabouts of a pair. Often, the data didn’t even make it as far as county bird reports or the Rare Breeding Birds Panel. Attitudes have since shifted, and a dedicated band of Honey-buzzard watchers have slowly started to piece together a truer picture of the species’ status in Britain. In this month’s Honey-buzzard-themed issue, the results of the latest nationwide Honey-buzzard population survey are presented, along with an account of the species’ history in central Scotland and observations of post-fledging behaviour in juveniles.

Issue 4
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