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Buzzards return to Guernsey skies
Nigel Jee in his field
Nigel has seen buzzards in the sky over his fields

Following World War II the number of birds of prey seen in Guernsey began to drop, according to natural history enthusiast Nigel Jee.

But, he said he began to notice them returning when he saw buzzards circling over his fields in the Castel in 2010.

As well as buzzards Nigel said he had also noticed an increase in the number of sparrowhawks in the island.

Nigel had a theory as to why: "Now the worst of the pesticides are banned the birds of prey are increasing again."

He explained: "After the last war there was a time people used a lot of pesticides and the birds picked them up from the mice and voles they were eating and this made their eggs infertile."

Nigel said birds of prey were also hunted, either to stop them killing game, or simply for sport, but now that such birds had become protected species it had allowed the numbers to increase again.

Buzzard
Nigel said the buzzard was recognisable thanks to it square wings

While kestrels have remained a common sight in the island, especially Nigel said around the cliffs where they can hover on the updrafts, he said the newly returned buzzards would be easy to spot thanks to their unique wings.

He said: "The buzzard you can't miss because of its size - it's a huge bird. The wings are big square things and it's often described as a 'flying barn door'... but it's very majestic."

It was the buzzards that Nigel said he noticed returning to the island in a seemingly permanent way as he knew of "at least three" nests and had seen five of the birds in the sky over his fields at once and the numbers seemed to be increasing.

While he is happy to see the birds of prey return Nigel did say some people often are not so happy to see them, especially the sparrowhawks, as they eat smaller birds, but he said: "It's all nature, it's worked for millions of years."

Though recent years have seen an increase in the less common birds of prey Nigel said: "The commonest birds, like house sparrows and starlings, are decreasing badly... it's the common ones that have the problems now."




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