June 26, 2016

Partly sunny

Buzzard Sunday draws smaller crowd this year

HINCKLEY TWP. — The buzzards faced some stiff competition from St. Patrick this year.

Hinckley Township’s annual Buzzard Sunday was a little less crowded than usual, thanks to the chilly temperatures and the event falling on St. Patrick’s Day, said Sharon Hosko, Breckville Nature Center manager and this year’s official buzzard spotter.

From left, Medina Raptor Center volunteers Glenn Feldhake, Annette Piechowski and Karen Napoli show turkey vultures during a program at Buzzard Sunday at Cleveland Metroparks’ Hinckley Reservation. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

Hosko estimated that about 2,000 people made the trek to Buzzard’s Roost at Cleveland Metroparks’ Hinckley Reservation.

“The true buzzard fans came out,” she said.

Usually, the festival attracts about 4,000, she said.

Along with the annual Buzzard celebration, the Hinckley Chamber of Commerce hosted about 1,600 people at the 56th annual pancake breakfast and craft show at Hinckley Elementary School.

There were fewer buzzards, too. Last year, 100 buzzards were spotted, and this year, only 24.

According to township lore, the buzzards don’t return until March 15 each year and mark the beginning of spring in Medina County.

The Medina Raptor Center, a nonprofit organization that rescues, rehabilitates and releases birds back into the wild had two turkey vultures on display — named Matilda and Paris.

The center released a third bird earlier in the afternoon.

Annette Piechowski, a volunteer with the center, said the two birds were rescued when they were very young, so they cannot be released back into the wild, because they do not fear humans.

Matilda was found at a lumberyard and Paris was found badly injured by Cleveland Police after youngsters threw stones at him.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.