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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

calling them "buzzards" might be because you watched a lot of old movies

Black Vulture & Turkey Vulture  (not "buzzards")
      In North America, the vulture is purely a scavenger (road kill and such), never killing a healthy, live animal. A similar word grew out of European mythology. The word “buzzard” originated (improperly) from “busart” in French, and “buteo” – a Latin term for a hawk; a large bird which happens to soar like many other birds. The early settlers of this continent (being largely uneducated) knew only the improper term “buzzard” and applied it to any large soaring bird, including the Red-tailed Hawk, Condor and Turkey Vulture (which certainly isn’t a “buzzard”) merely because they scavenged meat. The only true buzzard is a type of hawk native to Europe. However, many Hollywood films imprinted this error onto audiences, and the improper use of “buzzard” persists in everyday speech.

If we didn't have Vultures around we'd be up to our ankles in roadkill. To my way of thinking, calling these birds "buzzards" is an insult to these gracefully-flying and necessary birds.


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