Buzzard chick, Buzz Lightyear, in nest with new foster brother
© Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group
A rescued baby buzzard, nicknamed Buzz Lightyear, has been successfully smuggled into another buzzard family's nest to be brought up as one of their own.
The successful operation was a joint effort involving:
It's thought Buzz fell out of his nest in high winds
Amazingly the buzzard chick survived a 25-metre fall uninjured
Buzz was less than two weeks old when he was discovered at the foot of an enormously tall Scots pine tree on the wooded slopes of the RSPB nature reserve at Lake Vyrnwy on the Welsh/Shropshire border.
It was just after five o'clock on a windy afternoon at the end of May when RSPB warden Jimmy Carter was searching for the nest of a Spotted Flycatcher rarely seen at the reserve.
Climbing up the steep, tree-covered slopes that surround the lake he came across Buzz calling for help in the leaf litter at the bottom of a tree.
The tiny creature had survived a fall of 25 metres uninjured – a height equivalent to four adult giraffes balancing carefully on each other's head!
'I had no way of getting Buzz back in the nest'
The tree was on a one in three slope and the buzzard nest was a long way from the trunk.
I had no way of getting Buzz back in the nest and was aware that he was going to face a lot of natural predators as night fell.
Buzz received expert care at Stapeley until he had fledged
Buzz was taken home and fed cooked chicken and collected the next day by RSPCA Inspector Phil Lewis, who fashioned a temporary nest for the chick to make him feel secure in the box.
"He was amazingly unharmed from his 70 feet fall - young chicks are very flexible and he probably bounced as he fell into the soft, leaf litter which would have absorbed some of the impact."
Staff at our Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre raised Buzz until a new foster family was found by the Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group.
Smuggling Buzz into his new nest
Maxine Bland, a raptor expert at Stapeley, said:
"Buzz was slipped into the nest in Derbyshire a week ago and we can now report that the operation was a success.
"He has been accepted by his new foster parents who only had one chick to care for and now have two.
"We know he is doing well because members of the Raptor Group have been monitoring the nest from a distance.
"Buzzards, like most birds of prey, will happily rear young from another brood as long as the chick is at the same stage of development as their own."
More about our work for wildlife welfare
Rehabilitation is just one of the many different ways we work to improve wildlife welfare.
You can find out more about how we help wildlife, including advice on what to do with orphaned and injured wild animals, in our wildlife pages.