[Tweeters] Merlin Young are Very Apparent Right Now - 7/10/13

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Wed Jul 10 12:14:53 PDT 2013

You may be noticing some new bird sounds in your neighborhood and seeing intermittent bursts of a few fast-flying smallish (12-inch) brownish-gray, pointy-winged birds zipping around through the tall conifers. These newcomers could be this year's Merlins, whose presence in our suburban neighborhoods is increasing. I keep getting reports of new appearances of groups (3-7) of these skilled and fun-to-watch falcons in more and more neighborhoods in Seattle, north of Seattle and on the east side of Lk Wash.

Most of the Merlin young have fledged, but there do remain a clutch or 2 that have yet to take to the skies. The fledged ones are very playful, with each other and with the young of other species such as jays and flickers and even robins. But they are also learning and practicing the art of divebombing and chasing after some birds, including young crows. Their parents are diligently going after predators and potential threats of many kinds (threats to their young) and they are still procuring prey to feed their young ones. The youth are starting to snap at insects and can fairly adeptly manage the necessary techniques involved in tearing into the small birds that Mom or Dad either drop their way or transfer to them on a branch or in the air close to a branch. They are mostly active in early morning and later evening, but some activity can usually be seen or heard any time of day if you are patient. You don't need "call-outs" for these birds...!

Hope some of you have or soon will have discovered the presence of these fantastic raptors somewhere near you. Feel free to direct any questions about them my way - I enjoy sharing the joys and ways of Merlins with anyone interested.

I look forward to hearing of more sightings and inadvertent neighborhood hostings in the Puget Sound Area. They are a great addition to a neighborhood ecosystem and can even provide a focus that can stimulate neighborhood interaction and positive communication. What great birds they are :-)

Kee kee kee !

Barb Deihl

North Matthews Beach - NE Seattle

barbdeihl at comcast.net

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