Country diary: a young buzzard finds its heart-rending voice

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Sandy, Bedfordshire: Somewhere between the nest and the wide world beyond, a juvenile bird must follow its parent, like it or not

Not a single day, not a single hour, can pass in these late summer fields without the catcalls starting. I have heard hobbies here, kestrels and sparrowhawks too, but no raptor’s cry gets under the skin like the mew of a young buzzard. It is the cat demanding to be let in, let out, or both, or neither.

The juvenile finds its plaintive voice during these fledging weeks between its secure nest among the trees and the open country of adulthood. The peal of an adult, a shout of exhilaration or abuse, is markedly different from the bleat of its offspring. Such is the desolation and utter helplessness in a juvenile buzzard’s throat that it tugs at the charitable ear of all who hear. I often find myself spinning, swivelling, searching the sky, to locate, pity, or tell it to shut up.

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