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Hinckley has the dubious honor of being the place where buzzards return every March 15 after wintering in the Smoky Mountains. Rivaling the legendary swallows that return to Capistrano, more than 75 buzzards descend upon Hinckley Reservation and Whipp's Ledges on the same day each year.
Two local legends speculate about the buzzards' initial attraction to Hinckley. One story claims that the scavengers were drawn to the town in 1808 by the body of a Wyandot woman who was hanged for witchcraft. Another tale suggests that they arrived in 1819 after The Great Hunt, during which hundreds of predators were killed to curb livestock losses.
The curious event first was documented by a park patrolman who logged their arrival for 23 years. In February 1957, a Cleveland Press reporter recounted the story, and the following March 15 Hinckley was descended upon by more than just buzzards: Thousands of spectators came to see these turkey vultures arrive at their nesting grounds. To prepare for future deluges, the town proclaimed the Sunday following March 15 as Buzzard Sunday. The Hinckley Chamber of Commerce welcomes visitors with a pancake breakfast in area schools, and naturalists and park rangers supervise a “birdwalk.”
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