My husband caught this Merlin, he even has a kill in his claws!
Merlin pairs have been seen teaming up to hunt large flocks of waxwings: one Merlin flushes the flock by attacking from below; the other comes in moments later to take advantage of the confusion.
Merlins don’t build their own nests. Instead, they take over the old nests of other raptors or crows. They also use magpie nests, sometimes laying eggs right on top of the nest’s dome rather than inside the cavity.
Though it’s not much bigger than the more common American Kestrel, the Merlin is heavier and often appears considerably larger. As with most raptors, female Merlins are larger than males.
The name “Merlin” comes from esmerillon, the old French name for the species. Merlins used to be called “pigeon hawks” because in flight they look somewhat pigeon-like. Their species name,columbarius, is also a reference to pigeons.
Medieval European noblewomen—including Catherine the Great and Mary Queen of Scots—used Merlins for sport to hunt Skylarks. European and North American falconers continue to work with Merlins, hunting quarry that ranges from sparrow-sized to dove-sized.
The oldest known Merlin was at least 11 years, 11 months old. It was banded as an adult in New York in 1982 and recovered in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1993.
A couple weeks ago we were able to go with my husband on one of his trips and spent a couple days in Bozeman, MT. Our last day there we decided to spend an extra night and do a quick tour through Yellowstone the next day…
Here are the kiddos stretching their legs and doing a bit of balancing in Lamar Valley…
Flehming response: Definition: is a behaviour whereby an animal curls back its upper lips exposing its front teeth, inhales with the nostrils usually closed and then often holds this position for several seconds. It may be performed over a site or substance of particular interest to the animal (e.g. urine or faeces) or may be performed with the neck stretched and the head held high in the air. Flehmen is performed by a wide range of mammals including ungulates and felids. The behaviour facilitates the transfer of pheromones and other scents into the vomeronasal organ located above the roof of the mouth via a duct which exits just behind the front teeth of the animal.