Monday, February 27, 2006

The Merlin!

Two years ago, I guess it was. I happened to look out the front door window to see what was going on at the feeding station. Nothing. Not a bird in sight. Then a motion at the edge of my field of vision captured my attention.

It was a small hawk! Just starting to tear into a Junco, not four feet (ca 1m) from my front stoop, under a cedar tree! A quick trip through Peterson's identified her as a Merlin, a/k/a Pigeon Hawk, which identification was confirmed by telephone with the Raptor Center. They are uncommon in this area, but not unknown. I watched for the half hour it took her to dispose of the Junco, leaving only feet and feathers! What a beauty she was.

She hung around for a while, because I saw her again in my front yard with another bird, but she took it away before I could identify it. I have never had another good sighting, but there have been a number of instances where something has swooped down on the ground crowd, but too fast for me to eyeball, so I suspect she is still about.

I notice that the Downy Woodpeckers seem particularly vigilant before alighting on the suet block.


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