‘Giant buzzards’ eating dogs, warns Tipperary newspaper

The following article was headline news last week in the Tipperary Star, a local rag in the Irish Republic:


By Noel Dundon

A call to have the protection orders on buzzards lifted has been made following a number of incidents in which the birds of prey have taken terriers and other animals in deadly swoops through mid Tipperary.

Buzzards are causing major problems in the mid-Tipperary area at the present time with a number of terriers having been taken, leading to a call for protection orders to be lifted.

Two families have been left in distress after their dogs were preyed upon and killed by giant buzzards in the Templetuochy area where hares, rabbits, cats and other small animals have also been taken.

However, it has also been revealed that are birds of prey circling overhead Deputy Michael Lowry in Glenreigh, Holycross, while Moyaliffe, Drombane, Inch, Clonmore and Castleiney are also areas where buzzards have been spotted on the attack.

There is one report of a Yorkshire terrier having been attacked, but survived and was patched up by a veterinary surgeon, only to be attacked again and killed a short time later – all by the same buzzard which can have a wingspan of up to three feet with very powerful and strong claws used to take prey.

Forested areas which afford cover are the best hunting ground for buzzards and dog and cat owners are being advised to be on the watch out for their pets which could be taken at the blink of an eye.

There are also concerns that with the increase in buzzards, the spring lambing season after Christmas could be an ideal hunting ground for them – but a very costly one for sheep owners.


The online version of the article was illustrated with this photograph, entitled ‘A buzzard on the rampage’.

Is this ‘journalist’ having a laugh? Since when did ‘giant buzzards’ (or even normal-sized buzzards) start killing dogs, and since when did the sight of soaring buzzards above a politician’s head become a cause for alarm?

This type of sensationalist, ignorant, scare-mongering would be funny if it didn’t have consequences. Unfortunately, this baseless demonisation of birds of prey does have consequences, and serious ones at that. As we see all too often, there are still people clinging on to 19th Century attitudes who think that raptors are ‘vermin’ and should be destroyed. Articles like this one above will only fuel their prejudice and lead to the illegal persecution of these birds.

Tipperary is no stranger to raptor persecution – in the last few years the following crimes have been recorded:

July 2015: shot buzzard

May 2014: poisoned peregrine

January 2014: shot white-tailed eagle

July 2013: shot peregrine

June 2013: shot peregrine

June 2013: shot peregrine

Raptor persecution is a serious issue in Ireland, and the latest official report shows the trend is pointing upwards with 35 confirmed persecution incidents in 2015 – the highest number since recording began in 2011 (see here).

We’d encourage strong (but polite) words of complaint to the Tipperary Star:

Email journalist Noel Dundon: nd@tipperarystar.ie

Email editor Anne O’Grady: aog@tipperarystar.ie

UPDATE 6/12/2016: BirdWatch Ireland has issued a strong statement in response to the Tipperary Star (see here).


23 Responses to “‘Giant buzzards’ eating dogs, warns Tipperary newspaper”

  1. 1 John Lusby
    December 6, 2016 at 6:29 pm


    John Lusby from BirdWatch Ireland here.
    Thanks for highlighting this issue.

    Please see our statement on the article released today and feel free to share on your site.

    I also did an interview on Irish radio yesterday on this issue, as it has attracted significant attention, I can send you the link for the podcast if you wish (need to try and dig it out first).

    Also to let you know that there will be a follow up article in the same paper tomorrow….we wait with interest…and concern.

    Many thanks,

  2. 3 I C T
    December 6, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Described as “giant” buzzards, yet they apparently only have a three foot wing span, more than a foot less than any normal buzzard!

  3. 4 Chris Roberts
    December 6, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    With that article, Noel Dundon has made himself look like a complete and utter fool.

  4. December 6, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Tipperary…the truth….its a long way to go.

  5. 6 heclasu
    December 6, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Written after an evening on the Jameson’s?

  6. 7 Andrew
    December 6, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    The female Common Buzzard (giant or not) weighs just over two pounds and males generally below two pounds.
    Yorkshire terriers:-
    “Show dogs should weigh between four to seven pounds, but pet Yorkies can weigh as much as 12 to 15 pounds. A Yorkie who weighs less than four pounds is more prone to health problems, and more likely to suffer complications while under anesthesia.
    Yorkshire Terrier Dog Breed Information – Vetstreet”

    Absolute drivel from Tippereray
    Perhaps tomorrows article will reveal the buzzards are killing all the leprechauns ……

    If you have a Yorkie less than 2lbs keep it in your handbag.

  7. December 6, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    I was VERY disappointed to read in the Birdwatch Ireland response that Buzzards “preying on crows, rats and other pests”. Since when were crows, part of natural bird population, classed as pests by an ornithological organisation? This sort of error is not helpful when challenging outmoded practices and beliefs.

  8. 9 Roberta Mouse
    December 6, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    This is crazy….if people are worried keep cats in and dogs on lead….but really…are there Triceratops in Ireland.?

  9. December 6, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    I think we should be taking this more seriously …..My Greyhound was slaughtered by a massive Kestrel very close to these attacks.
    Unfortunately the video of the attack was dropped into the teapot by Mrs Doyle……..

    Just a thought though … has a falconer lost an eagle or other large raptor in the area ?
    It wouldn’t be the first time that a trained bird has taken a small dog.

    Or it could of course be the usual bxxxxxks !

    Keep up the pressure !

  10. 11 Julie Wright
    December 6, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Where are the pictures of said dog with injuries? I think someone who doesn’t like Buzzards and wants a licence to kill has put said journalist up to reporting this make believe story. If the journalist has taken this as fact without doing his research then he shouldn’t be reporting. I could understand an Eagle taking a small dog, but a Buzzard. You don’t think the story came from Gift of Grouse? I’ve yet to see a giant Buzzard and I’m blaming Harry Potter, Hagrid told him not to leave the Griffindor behind in Ireland.

  11. 12 Tony Warburton MBE
    December 6, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    What, no babies taken from prams? Or even toddlers and leprechauns? This could only come from Ireland – I think they call it ‘blarney’!!! I wonder if Val Doonican’s ‘Delaney’s Donkey’ is safe? No wonder their racehorses run so fast! P.S. I though the ‘Roc’ was mythical. Evidently my research abilities are fading!

    [Ed: “This could only come from Ireland”. Afraid not, Tony, we’ve also seen this sort of hysteria from England & Scotland – you can’t have forgotten the time the SGA wrote to Scot Gov about the threat of sea eagles eating children?! See here: https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/sga-turns-up-the-hysteria-on-sea-eagles/%5D

  12. 13 Scott Rattary
    December 7, 2016 at 12:19 am

    feck indeed…………………..the residents of craggy island are not safe in their own beds.

    What an embarrassment, they will be telling us sea eagles have killed 200 lambs next.

  13. 14 Alan Cranston
    December 7, 2016 at 12:52 am

    This journalist will not be sacked either for being parti pris or for inventing stories. He will be retained because the newspaper wants to sell copies and his story will (in their view) have supported that. In a sort of way we help him and them by complaining because I suppose the newspaper is desperate for any kind of consumer reaction. Maybe it is about to go out of business and is in its last throes.

    • 15 Alan Johnson
      December 7, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      I emailed his editor yesterday with a polite, but robust rebuke. I suggested that the least SHE should do is publish a comment that the facts are under scrutiny after the Birdwatch intervention. We shouldn’t assume these journalists knew they’re being lied to even if it’s obvious to all of us.

  14. 16 David Thompson
    December 7, 2016 at 8:21 am

    This is complete Tosh, pure sensationalism, is this the best the editor can drum up to sell his newspapers !

    • 17 AlanTwo
      December 7, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      The snag is that this sort of Tosh often works! Some people will actually take it seriously, others will take it with a pinch of salt but react on the ‘no smoke without fire’ principle. Yet more will be gradually influenced by a steady drip of anti-raptor stories
      I fear we may see a lot more of this kind of thing.

  15. 18 B. McMillan
    December 7, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    I think ‘someone’ should demand to see the evidence, or at least the identity of the owner(s). without evidence, it’s just hogwash.

  16. 19 Northern Diver
    December 7, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    All the readers comments have been removed! Most were deriding the article – quite rightly. It’s the article that should have been removed. Who owns this paper, I wonder?

  17. December 8, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    daft stories akin to the ones about foxes going into peoples houses and attacking babies and giant badgers etc.

  18. 21 Harris Keillar
    December 12, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    have written a very polite email to Noel

  19. 22 Harris Keillar
    December 12, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Very speedy response from Noel – Hi there – thank you for your comments and for the taking to email. We did a follow-up article last week and there was an inside piece also on week 1 which everyone seems to have ignored. It reported on the role of the buzzard in nature and how it came to almost extinction due to poisoning and shootings etc. However, this latest story was quite extraordinary, hence the prominent positioning.

    Noel Dundon

  20. 23 Brian Cahalane
    December 22, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Here in Nr ireland after giving a talk to Ballymena council on Swifts , i was informed by a Councillor that buzzards were responsible for the extinction of the corncrake , and that he had seen one so hungry it was eating worms in a field.We have idiots up here as well.
    Brian C.

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