Buzzard Day in Hinckley, Ohio
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
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.
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
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.
Buzzard Mural Photo Opportunity
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.
For more information, call 440-526-1012 or visit clevelandmetroparks.com. Buzzard Roost is located at the corner of State Road and West Drive in Hinc
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