Merlin


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I discovered this Female Merlin flying like a rocket to the top of this bare tree. She looked like a Peregrine Falcon as I watched her from a distance. I was photographing in Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge and had seen a Peregrine the preceding day and was eager to see it again. As I got closer, I realized this falcon was too small to be a Peregrine. When I got close enough to photograph her, she was scanning the area below her from the top of this tree. I learned later (after I identified it as a Female Merlin), that they can fly 30 plus mph and even faster and they eat smaller birds. They catch these small birds in midair with a high-speed attack. Even though the Merlin looks just like a miniature Peregrine, Merlins are prey for Peregrine Falcons!

Sandra Calderbank
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