I am fairly certain my wife and I had a Merlin in the yard this morning.
The bird was small, about the size of a pidgeon, had a square tail with
bands accross the tail. Its legs and cere were vividly yellow. The
birds back color seemed to be about the same as a morning dove, which is the
part that throws me off. I only observed the bird for 25 or 30 seconds and
was observing through the window without aid. My wife saw it for even less
time through another window. It was sitting on a branch about 8 feet above
the ground, roughly 35 feet away form the house. When it left it flew with
rapid wing beats in a straight line.