All Photos posted on this blog unless otherwise noted were taken by me with my Canon Rebel XTI using a 300 mm zoom lens

Thursday, January 1, 2009

January Bird of the Month "Merlin"

I had been trying to decide what bird I would select for this month's Bird of the Month, it wasn't until this afternoon that I decided. While driving home from my parents home today in Kaysville, Frank and I stopped by Kaysville Pond for a few minutes and saw the usual great birds but nothing new. As we drove east away from the pond I saw a bird on top of a power pole, at first I thought Kestrel but as we go closer I realized it was not. There seems to be an increase of Merlins sighted in the Salt Lake Valley this winter and sure enough our bird was a Merlin feeding on a rodent. I was able to get some nice pictures and decided to make the Merlin my "Bird of the Month".
The Merlin is a small falcon of northern forests and prairies, the Merlin is the least well-marked of the American falcons. It is becoming a regular breeder in urban areas and seems more common here in Northern Utah during winter is recent years.
Small Falcon. Long, pointed wings. Long, banded tail. Faint mustache mark. Brown streaking on chest and belly. Back unmarked gray or brown.
Size: 24-30 cm (9-12 in)
Wingspan: 53-68 cm (21-27 in)
Weight: 160-240 g (5.65-8.47 ounces)
Sex Differences
Sexes similar, but male smaller and gray on back, female brown.
Call a high "kee, kee, kee.
Conservation Status
Expanding breeding range and may be increasing in numbers.
Other Names
Faucon émerillon (French)Esmerejón (Spanish)Pigeon Hawk (English)
Cool Facts:
The Merlin does not build a nest, but instead takes over old nests of other raptors or crows. It sometimes nests on top of domed magpie nests rather than in the nest cavity.

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