The relationship game

Every morning, for the past couple of weeks, the buzzard has been there, perched on a fence beside the main road as I drive to work. Even when I have had the camera with me, there has been nowhere to stop amid the morning traffic. Every afternoon, as I have driven home, he has also been there. And the only days he perched somewhere I could stop, I did not have the camera. Even so, gradually, you are allowed a little closer. This is an old game with the local raptors… but he is a new player.

He watches me watching him… he’s very young, his feathers are pale and downy, his form slight and his flight patterns uncertain and dangerous when the cars rush by. Twice I have seen him almost dive to ruin amongst the speeding cars… and twice I have been poised, heart in mouth, ready to run my car up onto the grass to try and rescue him as he was buffeted by the passage of lorries and thrown close to their wheels. He is learning. But he seems to have grasped the rules of our game very well.

Those rules are simple… I am allowed to see and enjoy. My eye seeks him out daily…and he always looks at me now… but I am only allowed to take pictures, it seems, after I have demonstrated a certain loyalty to the encounter. And then the pictures are limited in both quality and number. Far from making for a frustrated photographer, this makes for a personal relationship with the great birds.

They are wild creatures. It is not at all the same thing as approaching a trained or domesticated bird, one who is used to people and associates them with food. This is permission to approach… and that is truly a privilege.

Called back  late to my son’s, I took the camera on a whim, hoping to get a decent sunset. Most of my photographs are currently languishing in the now-dead PC and I have no guarantees of recovering them. The buzzard was sitting there as I drove back and allowed me one unfocused and distant shot before he flew off. I was happy with that, feeling that I had been awarded a gift of approval.

Next morning, I once again grabbed the camera as I headed off very early for my son’s home… the roads were still relatively quiet but I saw him fly out into the flow of traffic. Once again he was buffeted by the currents as the cars passed and I saw him land on the grass looking fairly embarrassed. I pulled into an old entrance a hundred yards or so beyond the bird. I watched for a while to make sure he was okay and, when he didn’t move, got out of the car and walked a little closer. He took off as I raised the camera and disappeared over the trees. I could see he was flying just fine and turned to walk back to the car. The buzzard landed again, just across the road on the fence…

Coincidence? Yes, very probably… but that is really not what it feels like when they look you straight in the eye…


About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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33 Responses to The relationship game

  1. Adele Marie says:

    Beautiful photos and I think the start of a wonderful relationship with this majestic bird. xxx

    Liked by 3 people

  2. How lovely, Sue, to be able to develop some kind of trust with a bird like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Terrific photos and they take patience but so worth it. And you are right it is a privilege when a wild creature grants you an audience.. glad you had your camera.. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jennie says:

    Really nice! We have a red tailed hawk that sits atop a majestic tree in the yard. I know the feeling, especially when he seems to meet my eyes.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Your buzzard looks very different from our local ones.
    Large birds’ skill and grace is always impressive. (But that unblinking stare as they watch you is a bit unsettling. Get in the car!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. willowdot21 says:

    I am with you Sue 💗💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    There is a level of communication between species, I believe, aided by the uncluttered mind. A sense of being and respect for the other without thought. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Erik says:

    On the surface, this may seem to be about getting pictures of a bird. But from my perspective, it’s about much more. It’s about noticing. About appreciation. About wonder. About slowing down. About patience. About … well, a lot of things I value highly and write/speak about often!

    And I definitely understand what you mean about building “raptor rapport.”

    In addition — quite a nice bonus — I also learned something, which is that you in the UK mean something different when you say “buzzard.” Here in the US, our first association is something quite different. In fact, the first little town you enter when driving over the bridges onto Cape Cod here in Massachusetts is called Buzzards Bay. But rather than bringing to mind images of a regal bird more in line with a hawk or falcon, we use “buzzard” to refer to a more ominous and imposing variety of raptor.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Denis1950 says:

    An amazing story Sue but a bit of a heart stopper. and great to see you capture the images. Do you think it is gathering road kill for food?


  10. dgkaye says:

    Indeed seems like a silent agreement to be a little distant friends. 🙂 xx


  11. It sounds as though you’re making a friend, Sue. 🙂 — Suzanne


  12. A lovely post with images and well defined relationship 😊


  13. simplyjessicaruth says:

    This was a beauty to read! x


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