[Tweeters] Re: Urban Merlins

Benjamin Johnson tiger80 at hotmail.com
Sun Apr 22 22:20:13 PDT 2018

Hi All. Just wanted to add onto what Bud and Michael wrote with some of what Kim and I have experienced the last 5 years with our merlin study. We agree that merlins don't really fit the definition of rare in the region anymore. They're not common, and as many raptors do, they require fairly large territories with neighboring nests often a mile or more apart (although we've found some exceptions). But they can be seen quite regularly in the region and are nesting in many locations in the Puget Sound area. Our main focus has been on North Seattle and the municipalities directly north of Seattle (Shoreline, Edmonds, Lake Forest Park). We've found as many as 10 active nests just in that area in one year. We've also frequently followed leads and verified nesting in areas outside our core study area. Thus far we have documented active nesting as far north as Everett, south to Federal Way, east to North Bend, and west to Bainbridge Island, and many locations in-between. We've done some searching for territories east of Lake Washington and have found numerous nests in those communities as well. As we've gotten further along into our study we seem to be finding more and more nests. Certainly that is partly due to us getting more proficient at finding merlins, more people helping us look for them and more people reporting sightings to us and ebird/Tweeters, but it is likely some of it is also due to the growth of the merlin population. More recently we have found some new territories in places we had searched but never found merlins before. And we've also recently found some nests closer together than we ever had before. Time will tell if those trends continue, but thus far into our study it does feel like there is continued growth and expansion in the local merlin population.

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