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Vultures, not buzzards

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

To call someone an old buzzard is sometimes an insult, although often jokingly tempered as in “Well, you old buzzard what else could we expect from you?“ A threat in old Westerns was that you’d leave someone dead in the desert for the buzzards . Well, sure enough a dead body would be a tempting taste treat for some of our avian friends --- but vultures, not buzzards.

In the United States we have vultures – the black and turkey vultures in the southeast and the California condor out in the Golden State, each in a different genus but the same family. Now in Europe and other continents what they call buzzards are actually in the genus Buteo and they are what we think of as hawks. So the red-tailed hawk we so admire would be called a red-tailed buzzard in Europe.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.