Magic Merlin, winter 2018/19

Magic Merlin

Scientific Name: Falco columbarius

Hatch Year: 2016

Non-releasable due to: wing injury

Merlin Facts:

  • Merlins are “Holarctic,” meaning they occur across the Northern Hemisphere. There are three subspecies of Merlins in North America, which can be distinguished by the number of bands on their tail feathers.
  • They have adapted well to living in urban environments due to the abundance of attractive ornamental landscaping, which attracts prey — Cedar waxwings and other songbirds.
  • Like other falcons, Merlins were affected by the pesticide DDT in the 1950s and 60s; their eggshells were affected up until the late 1980s (nearly two decades after DDT was banned.)
  • Merlins will take over nests of corvids or hawks and will sometimes nest in rock ledges or tree cavities, typically laying 3-6 eggs.
  • Merlins are intolerant of other raptors. They have been observed “brazenly” harassing larger birds and chasing them for long distances.