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Hinckley, Ohio welcomes the annual return of the buzzards

Sights at Buzzard Day in Hinckley, Ohio
Sights at Buzzard Day in Hinckley, Ohio

The swallows always come back to Capistrano and the buzzards always come back to Hinckley, Ohio. Legend says that the buzzards have returned to Hinckley every March 15 since 1819 when they first arrived to feast on thawing carcasses left by settlers from a winter kill.

Visitors watch for buzzards
courtesy Cleveland Metroparks

The Return of the Buzzards The buzzards' annual trek leads them back to Hinckley Reservation, home to the 90 acre Hinckley Lake and Whip's Ledges ( a rocky outcropping of rock cliffs and ledges) where the buzzards come to roost. Don't miss the chance to pay tribute to these famous birds with a keen sense of direction. Hours for the sightings of the buzzards start at 7 a.m. on Saturday, March 15. Hinckley is 33 miles from Cleveland and it is approximately a 35 minute drive.

Some Interesting Facts About Buzzards Buzzards (actually turkey vultures) are birds of prey but they are primarily scavengers eating dead animals and are not hunters. With a wingspan of up to 6 feet, buzzards can weigh 3 to 6 pounds and can live as long as 20 years. The buzzard lacks a voice box so its calls are mostly grunts and hisses.

Buzzard Sunday This family-friendly annual celebration for Hinckley dates back to 1957 when 9000 visitors came for the first time to watch the buzzards return. Since that time more than 100,000 have come to witness the phenomenon. The tradition continues at the 57th annual Buzzards Day Celebration on Sunday, March 16 at the Buzzard Roost at the Cleveland Metroparks' Hinckley Reservation located at the corner of State Rd. and West Drive (between Bellus and Ledge Rds.) in Hinckley Township.

Starting at 9 a.m. Cleveland Metroparks naturalists will be on hand at the Buzzard Roost to talk about the history of the birds.

Activities at this free event include Live Birds of Prey programs (featuring buzzards, falcons, hawks and other predatory birds), live musical entertainment, hikes (9:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.), bus tours of Hinckley Reservation ( 10 a.m. 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.), a Buzzard Mural photo opportunity, a Buzzard Bean Bag Toss and puppet shows.

There will also be a Voyageur Encampment, a hands-on living history display focusing on outdoor living.

The exhibit area of the festivities will feature a Wingspan Display and a display from the Institute of the Great Outdoors.

Don't forget to check the Buzzard Scoreboard with the official tally of the number of birds that have been spotted.

The Earthworks Nature Shop will have lots of buzzard merchandise for sale from 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

The Metroparks will offer free shuttle service from the Bath House and Whip's Ledges to and from the Buzzard Roost throughout the day.

Refreshments will be available for purchase.

Hours for the Buzzard Sunday event are 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.. Admission to the event is free.

For more information about the Buzzard Sunday celebration call 440-526-1012 or get online at

The Buzzard Sunday event will be held at the Cleveland Metroparks Hinckley Reservation. The event (and Buzzard Roost) are located at the corner of State Road and West Drive. It is approximately a 35 minute drive from Cleveland.

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