Common Buzzards do Better with Colder Environments and Greater Snowfall

by Hilary Bruegl

In Eastern Westfalia, Germany, the varying North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which characterizes atmospheric pressure in areas surrounding the North Atlantic Ocean, affects the habitat specifications of the Common Buzzard Buteo buteo, causing a range of survival factors key to this predator’s life cycle to adjust accordingly. Jonker, et al. (2014) discuss the possible factors involved in population survival rates and overall population size in four study locations including the Teutoburger forest, Kiefernheide, Ravensberger Land, and Lower-Saxony. These locations vary in humidity, foliage type, and presence of predators. The authors deduced that time, NAO, spring rainfall, availability of prey, physical appearance or morph, and birth year were the variables most responsible for survival within a buzzard population. A decrease NAO was found to be the overarching variable that ultimately affected prey availability and rainfall, and correlated closest with an increase in buzzard survival. Continue reading