1913 news reported a ‘belled buzzard’ in county

Published 6:39 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2022

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One of the interesting stories I came across recently had to do with a “belled buzzard”.  I was never able to find any information on who or how this buzzard was “belled,” but I think you will enjoy the stories from 1911-1915.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

J. W. Edge, living near White Rock, several miles below Troy, reports having seen a belled buzzard a few days ago.  The vulture was not very high in the air and flew directly over Mr. Edge’s head.  The vulture had a small calf’s bell tied to its neck.

“I had often heard of such things,” said Mr. Edge, “but this was the first time I had ever seen a belled buzzard.  What I would like to know is this:  Who belled the buzzard, when and where?”

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In 1913, a belled buzzard made its appearance at the farm of W. H. Dubose on Route 6.  The vulture was noticed floating along in the azure sky.  There was nothing unusual in  the sight but suddenly, as the vulture flapped its wings, there was the audible tingle of a bell.

     Since that time the bird has been seen often and at a closer range.  The bell is a small one, and is  tied about the vulture’s neck.  Mr. Dubose would be glad to hear from others who have seen the bird.  He wants to know where the bird came from, who put the bell on its neck, how long it has carried the bell, etc.

The Messenger has often noted the appearance of a belled buzzard, in widely separated sections of the country, but has not been able to learn who belled the bird, and whether or not it is the same bird.

Finally in 1915, the belled buzzard was killed.  The belled buzzard, that bold, black bird whose lofty tinkle has been heard over thousands of Southern cotton fields, and whose chimes in the clouds have caused the superstitious pickers to scramble beneath cotton house and corn crib for many years, has been brought to earth.  The tiny bell was evidently tied there several years ago, as the leather strap which holds it shows signs of many years’ wear.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.