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Falco columbarius


Merlin is a small,aggressive diurnal(day hunter) falcon. Merlins have a toothed-bill which is unique to falcons. Their tomial tooth - a notched ridge on the upper half of their beak used for severing the spinal cord of their prey. Mature Merlin has a brown eyeline, pointed wings. A slate-blue back(males) or brown back(female,juveniles) and short tail. The tail and wingtips are barred. Underneath, the cream colored breast and belly are streaked in ochre and brown.


Merlins have a large range, living in forested areas,non-forested areas,rock cliffs and depressions in flat lands throughout the US,Canada,Mexico and West Indies and southward to northern South America.


This Merlin was day hunting in a field near the bay. A few small scattered trees dot the landscape. It rested on a sparsely branched tree about 6ft. tall. I was able to get very close under Merlin's watchful eye. I noticed this Merlin had a leg band or tag. It flew from the branch downward into a dry bushy thicket. I returned to observe the Merlin more distantly at this acreage. Unfortunately this field has recently been plowed under for a construction project. I have not spotted the Merlin in the area since.

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Hoquiam, Washington, USA

Spotted on Mar 22, 2013
Submitted on May 15, 2013

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