Friday, June 25, 2010

June 25: Return of the Merlin

For the fourth time in a week I heard a merlin calling outside my office. The first couple of times I heard that fast, high-pitched call, I thought it was a blue jay pretending to be a merlin. The third time, I saw the bird flying. It was indeed the small falcon, not a cheap imitation (or a jay). And today, when I proclaimed that I could hear the merlin again, my co-workers rushed to the door and we all got to watch the bird, which had very conveniently perched in plain view atop a snag at the end of our parking lot.

Despite all his yelling, he sat quite calmly in the dead tree, preening and looking around a bit before flying off. He seems to make a ruckus when dogs are around, I've noticed. But then again, it doesn't take much to rile up a merlin. They're very vocal birds on territory, which makes me wonder if this bird has a nest somewhere nearby. They're also very fierce, diving at just about anything that annoys them--even a much larger bird like a crow, gull, or peregrine. If this bird has a nest in the neighborhood, it's not too near though, because I've never seen him actually chasing another bird. I think he just shows up to yell a bit, let everyone know who's boss, and push the limits of his controlled air space.

Even from afar
we can see hooked bill, fierce gaze--
merlin on patrol.

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