[Tweeters] Merlin chasing Pileated

Ed Swan edswan at centurytel.net
Fri Aug 15 21:05:12 PDT 2014

Yesterday at our place at Pt. Whitehorn near Birch Bay, Whatcom County, a
young female Merlin entertained us for about 20 minutes chasing a Pileated
Woodpecker pair. The Merlin kept going after the male Pileated while the
female watched. For much of the time the action took place high in the
neighborhood snag. The Pileateds clung to the trunk while the Merlin landed
on branches. The Merlin would watch the male Pileated working at the trunk
and try to maneuver quickly through the dead branches to catch it. The
Pileated would cock its head and then scuttle 90 degrees around the trunk
and the Merlin would frustratingly have to start over. They went around and
around and up and down the trunk. Twice the Pileated flew off into the
nearby woods with the Merlin in hot pursuit. The first time, after a few
minutes, the Pileated returned to the snag only to be followed by the
Merlin. The second time the Merlin apparently lost interest. What it would
have done with the Pileated, a larger and heavier bird, I don't know. The
Pileated might have given it a good drilling.

Ed Swan

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