More than 100 buzzard enthusiasts gathered at Buzzard Roost on Saturday to welcome the annual return of the buzzards.
Some come every year, adorned with buzzard regalia. Others were checking out the annual event in the Hinckley Reservation, part of the Cleveland Metroparks, for the first time.
It was rookie Terry Doherty, of Brecksville, who correctly guessed the exact moment of the first buzzard spotting — 7:47 a.m.
Doherty said she heard official buzzard spotter Sharon Hosko guess 7:48 a.m. and then made her guess.
“I figured her guess was good, so I beat it by a minute,” Doherty said.
Other newcomers to the event included James and Jeannette Forsyth, their son, Michael, and his wife, Michele. The group was there to honor Wayne Forsyth, James and Jeannette’s son, who attended the event every year.
“It was just his thing, it was something he loved doing,” said Jeannette. Her family brought a scrapbook with photos of Wayne in his buzzard gear and shared memories with buzzard day regulars and Wayne’s friends.
“We’re hoping to meet some of his friends,” Jeannette said. “We wanted to visit in his honor.”
Seven buzzards were spotted in the half-hour after the first buzzard was spotted.
Hosko said she expected good spotting throughout the weekend.
The buzzards are easy to spot in the park because many of them return to the area to lay their eggs on the cliffs and ledges nearby, including Whipps Ledges, in the Hinckley Reservation, said Hosko, who is also a naturalist for the park system.
Thom Kotulak, who’s been attending Buzzard Day yearly, brought his collection of stuffed buzzards and buzzard clothing to Buzzard’s Roost again this year.
“When I was in high school I cut class to come,” Kotulak said. “Now I take off work.”
This year, Kotulak, said he was slightly disappointed he didn’t get the opportunity to take time off work, but said he was excited none-the-less.
“It’s like a rite of spring for me,” he said. “I know it’s almost spring when we celebrate Buzzard Day.”
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.