May 1, 2015 – Merlin (Falco columbarius)

Requested by: derbytup

These small falcons are found across all of North America and Europe, as well as parts of Asia. They feed mostly on small birds, generally hunting abundant local species such as House Sparrows. Merlins sometimes hunt in teams, one bird flushing prey while others fly in a few seconds later, taking advantage of the confusion. Merlins don’t build nests, instead using the abandoned nests of other raptors, crows, and sometimes magpies. During the middle ages falconers called Merlins “lady hawks” because they were used by noblewomen, including Catherine the Great and Mary Queen of Scots, for hunting.