Also known as the
"Pigeon Hawk", the Merlin is a small, fast falcon which
catches its main prey (small birds) in flight. Merlins have become adapted
to living in urban areas and may overwinter in cities, taking advantage of the
steady supply of House Sparrows and Rock
Doves (pigeons) that urban centers provide. They are not only found
throughout much of North America, but in parts of Europe and Asia.
Habitat: Prefers mixed habitat of trees
and adjacent open spaces for breeding. May winter in nearly any habitat.
Diet: Mostly small birds, also small mammals,
insects, and reptiles.
Behavior: Primarily hunts from a perch, flying out
to capture prey when it is sighted. Also will fly low over the ground
in order to surprise prey.
Nesting: May and June
Song: Rapid shrill ki-ki-ki-ki.
Migration: Merlins summer in Canada and the northern
U.S. Rockies, and winter through the western half of the country and along the
Conservation Status: Possibly in decline due to effects of
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Merlin"
Photo Information: November 11th, 2004 -- Near Presho
-- Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Merlin photos.