We are back after a 15 day vacation. My husband had a business meeting in Seattle so we (the whole family plus Grammy ~ 10 people in all) spent a couple of days hanging around there and then we crossed on the ferry and started our Highway 101 adventure! We toured through parts of Olympic National Park and then followed the coast down to San Francisco and then cut across California, Nevada and Idaho to make it back to Bozeman, MT just in time for my husband to have another business meeting then headed home. This is one of the thousands of pictures I took on our little trip and was taken in Olympic National Park….
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…