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With so many of our native bird species in sharp decline and being added to the 'Red List' - offering them highest priority for protection - it's refreshing when one bucks the trend and numbers increase. 

Buzzards have been making a huge comeback and are now Britain's most abundant bird of prey, breeding in every single county since the year 2000.

Numbers have now reached the region of 68,000 breeding pairs, as opposed to a low of 1000 in the early 1900s when they were widely culled by gamekeepers who wrongly believed they were a huge threat to their game birds; thankfully this practice is now illegal.

In fact, game birds make up just a tiny percentage of a buzzard's diet. 

Restrictions were placed on killing buzzards during the two world wars, which allowed numbers to recover, but an outbreak of myxomatosis in rabbits in 1955 decimated an important food source, and buzzards were also severely affected by organochlorine pesticides which affected their ability to reproduce, until these pesticides were withdrawn in the late 1960s.

Their recent success is partly due to their varied diet and adaptability. Buzzards eat small mammals, birds and carrion, but when these are in short supply they will eat earthworms, amphibians and large insects. They can often be seen along our road networks - either soaring or perching on fences or pylons - presumably looking for roadkill. They also live in most habitats, particularly woodland, moorland, pasture, arable farmland, marshes and villages, even cities such as Glasgow.

It's a wonderful sight to see these majestic birds soaring high - long may it continue!