Behavioural adaptations of the buzzard for foraging along the expressways
The expansion of human activities in their many forms is increasing the frequency, diversity and scale of human-wildlife interactions. One such form, a negative one, is the expansion of road infrastructure, causing roadkill and traffic-related noise as well as habitat loss and fragmentation. Even so, habitats around road infrastructure are attractive foraging areas that attract certain bird species. We assessed the impact of road infrastructure on the foraging strategies of the Common Buzzard Buteo buteo. These birds were observed in two habitat types – along an expressway and in an open agricultural landscape – during two winter seasons. In farmland, the buzzards spent most of their time in trees, but on the roads, they spent more time on medium-height hunting sites. Buzzards changed their hunting sites in accordance with the mean wind speed and snow cover; also, they more often changed their sites along the expressway than in farmland. The number of attacks on prey was mediated by the number of hunting site changes and snow cover but not by the habitat types. These results illustrate the high plasticity of the buzzards' behaviour, which can adapt their hunting strategies to both foraging location (expressway vs. farmland) and weather conditions. Roadsides along expressways are indeed attractive foraging areas for this diurnal raptor, so reducing the risk of vehicle collisions with this and other birds of prey may require targeted planning efforts.