Buzzard Day in Hinckley, Ohio

Turkey Vultures

Turkey vultures (also known as buzzards in the southern United States) are large blackish brown birds that can be found throughout North America from southern Canada southward.
Turkey vultures (also known as buzzards in the southern United States) are large blackish brown birds that can be found throughout North America from southern Canada southward.
Adult turkey vultures have red heads while their young (pictured above) usually have black heads. The young will be ready to fledge after about three months and will take up to 5 years to achieve full adult plumage.
Adult turkey vultures have red heads while their young (pictured above) usually have black heads. The young will be ready to fledge after about three months and will take up to 5 years to achieve full adult plumage.
The Official Buzzard Scoreboard
The Official Buzzard Scoreboard | Source

An Annual Event

Every year on March 15, buzzards return to Hinckley, Ohio. In 1957 a reporter for Cleveland Press reported that the Cleveland Metroparks rangers had documented for at least 25 years that buzzards return to Hinckley each year on March 15. On that date in 1957, in response to the report, the town of Hinkley was surprised by over 9.000 skeptical spectators, reporters, bird watchers and naturalists who came to observe the arrival of the buzzards for themselves. The buzzards arrived on schedule as predicted, and have arrived on March 15 every year since then. The citizens and Chamber of Commerce declared the first Sunday on or after March 15 as Buzzard Sunday. Each year HinckleyTownship residents host Buzzard Day activities to mark the return of the buzzard to the Hinckley Reservation of Cleveland Metroparks.

At 7:00 am on March 15, Bob Hinkle, the chief of outdoor recreation for Cleveland Metroparks and the official buzzard spotter, records the arrival time of the first buzzard. Bird watching enthusiasts gather for the event, wearing Buzzard T-shirts, buttons and hats. The buzzards typically arrive between early morning and 3:00 pm.

On Buzzard Sunday, free events are sponsored by Hinckley Township Chamber of Commerce and Cleveland Metroparks at Hinckley Reservation’s Buzzard Roost. These events include displays and exhibits, music, live bird shows, naturalist led hikes, bus tours, and the buzzard score card that records the number of buzzards spotted. The community organizes other fundraising activities such as a pancake breakfast with proceeds going to local charities.

Legend has it that in 1818, Judge Hinckley of Massachusetts, an Ohio land owner, learned that some predatory animals were destroying local domestic animals and crops. He organized a group of friends who circled the perimeter of his acreage and moved toward the center of the property killing predatory animals along the way. This became known as “The Great Hinckley Hunt of 1818.” The hunters took what they could use for food, and left the rest of the carcasses there for winter. When the buzzards returned in the spring the feast was so impressive that it became imprinted on their brains, causing them to return each year.

The buzzards play a role in sanitizing the area while they are in town. Buzzards are one of a few birds with a sense of smell. They use their sense of smell to locate decomposing remains even if hidden from sight. Their digestive system kills all bacteria and viruses in their diet and their droppings do not carry disease. Buzzards are actually turkey vultures, and do not kill. Their beaks and talons are not designed to tear into a live carcass. Like turkeys, buzzards roost rather than nest. The Hinckley Reservation is an ideal habitat for the buzzards. The rocky ledges surrounding the 90 acre Hinckley Lake are perfect for roosting.

UPDATE: 2015 Buzzard Sunday Itinerary

This year Buzzard Sunday is on March 15th
9:00 am to 2:30 pm

Price: Free

Ages: All ages

call 440-526-1012 for more information

Buzzard Sunday activities include:

Hikes and Tours
Hikes – 9:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.
Bus Tours of Hinckley Reservation – 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Platform Presentations
Live Birds of Prey Programs: 10 - 10:30 a.m. , 11:30 a.m. - noon & 1:30 - 2 p.m.

Buzzard Family Reunion
Families with the last name Buzzard are invited to meet other Buzzard families and win a prize in a Buzzard Family Contest.
Group Buzzard Family photo 10 a.m.
Contest 10:15 a.m.
Largest Buzzard family
Buzzard family who traveled the farthest
Most uniquely dressed Buzzard family

Tent Activities
Cleveland Metroparks Nature Shop selling unique buzzard merchandise!
Outdoor Recreation Display
Rocky River Watershed Council Table
Hinckley Girl Scout Troop #91129 Craft Table

Exhibits & Other Activities 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Wingspan Display
Buzzard Mural Photo Opportunity
Buzzard Scoreboard
Buzzard Bean Bag Toss
Hinckley Boy Scout Troop 520 Encampment

Food Concession (for a fee) 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

FREE shuttle bus service from the Bath House parking lot and Whipp’s Ledges parking lot to Buzzard Roost.

For more information, call 440-526-1012

Buzzard Roost is located at the corner of State Road and West Drive in Hinckley Reservation, in Hinckley Township – south of Route 303.

Hinckley, Ohio

A markerState Rd and West Drive, Hinckley, Ohio -
State Rd & West Dr, Hinckley, OH 44233, USA
[get directions]

For more information, call 440-526-1012 or visit Buzzard Roost is located at the corner of State Road and West Drive in Hinc

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Comments 35 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

An interesting bit of local history. I've been where eagles are celebrated but not vultures.

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago Author

Thanks dahoglund. I had a boss once who went every year with his wife. They knew a lot of people who also went every year, so it was a social event for them as well.

vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

Well, you pull these interesting fascinating "buzzards" right out of your hat! You must win at Trivial pursuit, hands down! I guess you probably know that the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano in the same fashion on March 19, which I think is the feast of St. Joseph. Well, March 15 is the ides of March, when supposedly Julius Caesar was assassinated, and I believe the story goes that the buzzards came to eat his remains. I just made that up!!

I loved reading this hub. Really!! And I like the info regarding this inside tracs, taking care of all the bad stuff and none of it being in their poop! How amazing is that? Gotta be a God, right?

Anwho, thanks for another awesome piece.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

Interesting... that's funny that they always come back on the same day.

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago Author

@vern - praise Him if you're so inclined! Up until now, I didn't know about the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano on March 19. Thanks for that. So much to learn, so little time! Thanks for stopping in for a read vern.

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago Author

@Rose - Isn't it odd? I think it's funny that the rangers recorded it for 25 years before reporting it to the media, and that the buzzards keep the town clean!

epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

....a nice slice of life hub which I found most interesting ......and I would fly in the sky for you anyday .......because it's people like you who set me free ......

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago Author

I think you're wonderful poetry man,

But be a buzzard if you can.

I'll be sure to steer my car,

When you're licking road kill off the tar!

Even though you're free to fly

You have to eat or else you'll die.

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago Author

and if you do,

it's true,

you'll be the new

buzzard stew.

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

How strange, but AWESOME!!!

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago Author

LOL! The hub or the comments? Maybe I could add a poll! Thanks for noticing and commenting Simone.

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Fascinating! I did not know buzzards were among the only birds who could smell. I also did not know there was a day celebrating these birds anywhere, lol. Thank you for teaching me something new today! I will think of you next time I see buzzards circle on my walk.

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago Author

...and if they poop on you, don't worry 'bout it! I'm glad I could contribute to your wealth of knowledge, story. If you're ever on a game show and they ask buzzard questions, you'll be in good shape. Thanks for reading, enjoying, and taking time to comment, story.

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

As a bird lover I found this most interesting. I have not heard of birds with such a superb sense of time before!

Thanks for this very interesting bit of bird lore.

Love and peace


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago Author

Do you have buzzards or vultures in S Africa, Tony? Their arrival marks the almost beginning of least in Hinckley. Glad you enjoyed and thanks for the read and comment.

epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

....I laughed so hard that I spit my dentures out onto the keyboard and now I look like a hockey player who has lost too many fights - in particular your comment/reply to Simone Smith - the hubs or the comment????

..well on that note I must say that it would be strange NOT to tell you how awesome you are - and that's the plain truth Ruth!!!!!

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago Author

@e-man: buzzards don't have dentures; only adventures.

epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

...every time I come here I have an adventure - and an exciting one at that!!!!

Benjimester profile image

Benjimester 6 years ago from San Diego, California

I didn't know you were from Ohio! That's where all my family is from. From Dayton. That's a really interesting legend about the Judge. Very cool. Those Ohioans definitely are something else :)

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago Author

Hinckley is outside of Cleveland. I've never been there, but an old boss used to go with his wife every year! That's how I knew about it.

Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image

Ask_DJ_Lyons 5 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee

How cool is that! - a day celebrating buzzards. Perhaps I can go some day. I loved learning more about buzzards since I frequently see one or more out here in the countryside where I live. Thanks for sharing!

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago Author

I just came from your tale of the free vulture hub, DJ. That's interesting too. Thanks for stopping to read and comment! It would be kind of a long trip for you, but let me know if you go!

crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Very interesting story in there that is quite funny.I love this article so much and really enjoyed it.

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago Author

thanks crystolite. Isn't it weird? The road kill thing cracks me up:)

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Kim Hello, What an engaging and fact filled hub. I really enjoyed reading this and what a hoot - the townsfolk actually make it into an event! So cool. Buzzards - who'd have thought it?

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago Author

Thanks PegCole 17 - glad you enjoyed. I know, I like the idea of making an event of something bizarre or unusual. I bet there are families who have done the same - made an occasion for family gatherings other than holidays, weddings, funerals, etc. Hmmm... if not, it's a good idea:)

profile image

smartgilas 5 years ago

Perfectly said! It was fun reading this article specially on the gander mountain coupons

part. thanks a lot!

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago Author

Thanks smartgilas. glad you enjoyed:)

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

kimho39, GREAT and AMAZING hub. LOVED it. Voted up and all the buttons! I appreciate YOUR talent very much. And now, May I, with your permission, become a fan and a follower? I love to associate myself with talented writers and hopefully, learn from them. Including YOU. Thanks. Kenneth Avery, from a rural town, Hamilton, in northwest Alabama that looks like sweet little Mayberry, the town on the Andy Griffith Show. Peace to YOU!

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago Author

Well ok, kenneth avery. become a fan and a follower if you must! kidding of course. thank you very much for reading, voting, fanning, following and leaving such kind comments:) And just as I suspected, it takes one to know one. I just checked out your hubs. Very interesting and amusing! Give my best to Opy and Aunt Bea:)

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

LOL, kimho39, surely will. And done. They both said hi to you. Along with Andy, Barney, and Otis. I enjoy your work and talent that is so rare this day and time. You write such such a fresh style that literally captures the reader and carries them through whatever adventure you maybe talking about. Keep up the great work. And I'm totally-serious. Honored to be your fan and follower. KENNETH

Marcella in FL from Ohio 4 years ago

We are repeating the unit of studdy from News 2 You a picture based newspaper online. This year we are just as excited about the news. We are watching the online info to find out if they come this year.

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 4 years ago Author

is this the link, marcella? It would be exciting to watch online for people who can't make it to Hinckley! I'm guessing they will be back this year, but we did have a really warm winter so there may be more suspense than usual:) Thanks for commenting, and I hope you enjoy the buzzard news this year.

chef-de-jour profile image

chef-de-jour 3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

What an unusual event but very interesting. I saw these beautiful birds in New Mexico I think, circling above Taos waiting for the throw outs of fast food joints?! Perhaps. But this Hinckley event seems much more natural.

Voted up for Turkey Vulture, a fantastic bird.

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 3 years ago Author

Thanks chef-du-jour. It is amazing where we can find amusement:)

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