Monday, October 31, 2016

A Cooper's Hawk - Not A Merlin

During a brief dry spot in late afternoon yesterday we took Buster for a short walk in the neighborhood. When returning to our house, Jeanette noticed this bird in the top of a tree half a block away.  She said, "Wait, is that our Merlin or a Crow?"  I said, "Most probably a crow".  Viewed only with the naked eye it was hard to tell at that distance.  Jeanette got binoculars, and I got my camera. Disappointingly we realized it was a Cooper's Hawk.  Disappointed in a Cooper's Hawk?  You see we have been hopefully checking tree tops daily this fall for our Merlin. For the past three winters we have enjoyed a Merlin showing up in our neighborhood, probably returning from its summer breeding grounds in the far north.  We have watched it from our kitchen window keeping an eye on our backyard feeder. Merlins are members of the fast flying falcon family and are capable, as we have witnessed, of snatching a song bird in mid air. Watching the Merlin each winter since moving here in 2013, we have become familiar enough with it to know the exact four trees where it can be seen.  At this point it feels like it is past due, and we fear that for the first time our Merlin has not made it back. (Looking back at my records, we have seen our bird begining in the middle of October thru March.)


  1. I have faith the Merlin is still out there but got deterred by the 3rd wettest October (maybe 2nd) the month isn't over yet.

    1. I just took a quick walk in Salemtowne, a wouldn't you know it, I saw one up by the front gate in a tree by the golf club house.