Monday 1 March 2021

Pagan Eye: A Buzzard Perched in a Bare Tree

This photo of a buzzard was taken by Mark Jones, who last week sent me a brilliant photo of a squirrel among the snowdrops. He said he came across the bird of prey while out walking. "They seemed quite content to sit on their perch whilst the other birds around them flew around in alarm," he said.

While in some folklore traditions buzzards are viewed as a bad omen, they are useful for the environment because they eat up carrion. According to the RSPB they are the UK's commonest bird of prey, although still relatively rare.

According to the Book of St Albans, or Boke of St Albans, first printed in 1486, in English folklore there is a hierarchy of birds of prey and the social ranks for which each bird was supposedly appropriate. Interestingly, the buzzard doesn't appear. However, some people people believe it should be a buzzard for a baron, rather than a bustard for a baron, as a bustard is game bird, not a bird of prey. Here's the full list:

  • Emperor: The Golden Eagle, Vulture, and Merloun
  • King: The Gyr Falcon and the Tercel of the Gyr Falcon
  • Prince: The Falcon Gentle and the Tercel Gentle
  • Duke: The Falcon of the Loch
  • Earl: The Falcon Peregrine
  • Baron: The Bustard
  • Knight: The Sacre and the Sacret
  • Esquire: The Lanere and the Laneret
  • Lady: The Marlyon
  • Young Man: The Hobby
  • Yeoman: The Goshawk
  • Poor Man: The Tercel
  • Priest: The Sparrowhawk
  • Holy Water Clerk: The Musket
  • Knave or servant: Kestrel

On each of my Pagan Eye posts, I show a photo that I find interesting, with a few words about it. If you want to send me a photo for a Pagan Eye post, please email it to Let me know what the photo shows and whether you want your name mentioned or not. For copyright reasons, the photo must be one you have taken yourself and you must confirm that you are submitting it for A Bad Witch's Blog.

The photo is copyright Mark Jones.

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