Monday, October 11, 2010


The other day while driving home, I came upon a Merlin hawk on the street where I live.   Based on colouring in one of the bird books I have, I think the bird was a 'she'.  She was actually on the road hovering around a morning dove that she must have killed and dropped on the road.  I saw her on the road and slowed down.  I didn't want to hit her or damage the dove.  She flew off and I continued down the street to my house.  Once home, I decided to get my camera and see if she was still down the street.  I walked down the street and she was perched on a street sign.  I got close to her and started to take pictures.  I looked at the dove on the street and it was definitely dead.  It had a puncture wound by its neck.  We feed birds in the backyard and I wondered if this dove was one of the family of doves that spend time in the backyard.  When any Merlin is flying around and making their "kikikiki"shrill chirp, the sparrows and other birds in the neighbourhood become quiet and disappear.  

The Merlin (Falco columbarius) is a small type of falcon from the Northern Hemisphere.  It is sometimes also called a pigeon hawk.  The Merlin is 24–33 cm (9.5–13 in) long with a 50–67 cm (20–26 in) wingspan.  Compared to other small falcons, it is more robust and heavily built.  Males average about 165 g (5.8 oz) and females are typically about 230 g (8 oz).  

After taking a number of pictures, I left and walked back home.  The dog was waiting by the front door and was glad to see me.  He knew I left the house without him!!  In his mind, that is not acceptable.  Since it was such a beautiful day, making supper could wait so we went for a walk.   We walked past where the Merlin had been perched on the street sign.  Both the Merlin and her supper were gone.

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