HINCKLEY – Though the morning temperatures may have indicated otherwise, spring officially arrived in Hinckley at 8:28 a.m.
That is when the approximately two dozen onlookers spotted the first buzzard to make its return to the southernmost Cleveland Metroparks reservation.
Celebrating the annual return of the buzzards to their roost in the rock cliffs and ledges of the Cleveland Metroparks Hinckley Reservation dates back at least to 1957, when more than 9,000 visitors flocked to “Buzzard’s Roost” to welcome the buzzards from their winter hiatus.
Metroparks official “Buzzard Spotter” Bob Hinkle said weather actually has little to do with the birds’ annual return.
“Daylight tends to regulate when they travel, and if there is snow on the ground making it difficult for them to find food,” Hinkle said. “But they will find their way north and there is no snow on the ground today in Hinckley. So they will show up when they show up.”
According to Metroparks officials, the Hinckley flock, has returned as early as 7:12 a.m. one year, and took until 2:45 p.m. to show up on another.
Township resident Seth Hill said he and his daughters Madison and Casey searched for buzzards for two hours when they last celebrated Buzzard Day two years ago.
“We gave up and left, then about two miles down the road we saw about 50 of them up in the trees,” Hill said. “It was like they were hiding from us.”
Along with a 5-foot walking buzzard and buzzard-themed gifts, donuts, coffee and a very welcome space heater inside the Metroparks EarthWords Nature Shop tent, Wayne Forsyth, of Cuyahoga Falls, has become a Buzzard Day staple.
He said the phenomenon of humans returning to Buzzard’s Roost each Mar. 15 is as interesting as that of the birds.
“I’m usually the first to show up – I was here today at 5:15,” Forsyth said. “There are have so many friends I have made that come here every year, and the buzzards always come regardless.”
Buzzard Day events will continue from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mar. 20 as the Metroparks present “Buzzard Sunday” at Buzzards Roost, located off Bellus and State Roads. The annual event will include hikes, buzzard-related crafts and presentations, and more. For more information call (330) 278-2066